Vladimir Guerrero had a pair of run-scoring doubles, giving him 900 career RBIs, and Garret Anderson and Jose Molina both hit two-run singles to lead the Angels past the Baltimore Orioles 8-4 Wednesday night.
But the news was not all good for the AL West leaders, who placed Washburn on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his left elbow after increasing their division lead to two games over Oakland. The move was retroactive to July 25.
“It would be a huge hit if we lost him for a long time,” Lackey said. “The guy’s having a great year. He’s got a great ERA and could have quite a few more wins. He’s really pitched well for us.”
Washburn is 6-6 despite a tidy 3.28 ERA, the sixth-best in the AL entering Wednesday. The left-hander had a bullpen session before the game, but the club decided it was best to DL him and give him the appropriate attention.
Chris Bootcheck is expected to make his second start in Washburn’s place on Saturday against Tampa Bay. He made his second major league start on Sunday at Yankee Stadium, allowing a run and five hits in six innings and finishing with a no-decision after handing a 4-1 lead to the bullpen.
“Structurally, everything’s OK with Wash, but he’s got a little inflammation in there and we don’t want it to get any worse. That’s why we’ve been taking every precaution we can,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “He needs a little more time to see if it’ll calm down some more. Hopefully, we can keep this at a minimum for the rest of the season with some anti-inflammatory medication.
“If this was a situation where he had to pitch, we’re confident that he could pitch. So I don’t think there’s going to be an issue with him stepping back from his turn or getting back out there later next week.”
Lackey (9-4) improved to 3-0 in his last four starts, allowing three runs— two earned—and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings. That stretch included a no-decision against Toronto last Thursday, when he pitched eight scoreless innings before the Angels lost 2-1 in 18 innings.
Lackey walked three and struck out seven, including Miguel Tejada his first three times up. Tejada, who leads Baltimore with 70 RBIs, entered the game averaging a strikeout every 9.8 plate appearances—eighth-best in the AL.
“It was kind of a battle tonight,” Lackey said. “I didn’t feel like I had my best stuff, but the biggest key was definitely the way the guys kept scoring a lot of runs after I gave up the first two.”
Brian Roberts had two RBIs, Jay Gibbons an RBI double and Javy Lopez an RBI single for the Orioles, who have lost a season-worst eight straight and 14 of 15 to fall five games under .500 and 10 1/2 games out of first in the AL East— their largest deficit of the season.
Rafael Palmeiro sat out his third game of a 10-game suspension after testing positive for steroids, leaving the Orioles groping for offense.
“It’s not like you can sit in a corner and pout,” Roberts said. “You go out there and lay it on the line every night and make the best that you can out of every situation. We’re certainly not counting ourselves out, but there definitely are some things that we need to change.
“It’s such a long season that you’re going to have those stretches where you just can’t do anything right, so you’ve got to battle through it. We don’t have a choice.”
Erik Bedard (5-4) was charged with seven runs, eight hits and four walks in 4 1-3 innings—just the second time in 13 starts this season he allowed more than three earned runs. Bedard had the AL’s second-best ERA (2.08) when he went on the disabled list May 22 with a sprained left knee. But in four starts since his return, the left-hander is 0-3 with a 5.49 ERA.
Angels rookie Maicer Izturis fouled out to catcher Lopez while trying to bunt Jose Molina to second in the fifth inning. But it hardly mattered, as seven of the next eight batters reached base and the Angels scored six runs— tying a season high for one inning—to take a 7-2 lead.
Orlando Cabrera and Darin Erstad hit RBI singles and Anderson singled home two more on an 0-2 pitch after Bedard walked Guerrero to load the bases. Molina also came up with the bases loaded and greeted Chris Ray with a two-run single that capped the rally.
Guerrero opened the scoring in the first with a two-out double after a leadoff single by Chone Figgins that extended his hitting streak to 13 games, equaling a career best. Another two-out double by Guerrero in the sixth extended the Angels’ lead to 8-3 and gave the reigning AL MVP 35 RBIs in his last 32 games.
The Orioles’ next stop on their six-game road trip is Texas. Sammy Sosa, who has played once at Ameriquest Field—the 1995 All-Star game—has homered in 42 different ballparks. The record is 43, by Fred McGriff. … Lackey has 141 strikeouts, just three fewer than his total in 198 1-3 innings last season.