Tony Gwynn: Wild AL West up for grabs
Rivera homered and drove in four runs, Anderson had three RBIs, and the Los Angeles Angels ended a three-game skid with a 10-3 victory over Texas on Saturday. Tim Salmon also homered for the two-time defending AL West champs, who climbed back over the Rangers into second place in the division.
Guerrero, who had hit safely in all of his previous 44 games against the Rangers, walked his first four times up to tie a franchise record—including three intentional passes. The 2003 AL MVP and eight-time All-Star has been intentionally walked 16 times this season and 186 times in his 11-year career.
“It’s not frustrating at all,” Guerrero said through a translator. “I mean, it’s part of the game. It’s happened to me before.”
“It’s tough to put anyone on a level with Bonds,” Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler said. “We put Guerrero on base and took our chances. That was the strategy we chose to go with today. We didn’t stop him—I mean, he scored twice. “
“Playing right field, I know the ball carries pretty good during the day,” Guerrero said. “I hit the ball fairly well, but I didn’t expect it to carry that much. When I saw DeRosa going back on it and turn his back, I wasn’t sure where the ball was. But I know he had a good jump. If it dropped, fine. If it didn’t, it doesn’t matter—because we were still winning.”
Ervin Santana (12-5) allowed three runs and five hits over eight innings, matching his win total as a rookie last season. The right-hander struck out five and walked three.
John Koronka (7-7) allowed seven runs and seven hits in four innings. The left-hander is 0-3 with a 6.80 ERA in his last eight road starts since beating the Angels and Seattle back-to-back April 18-23. He gave up two of the three walks to Guerrero, who has one hit in three career at-bats against him.
“The way he’s hit against us, it was the right move,” Koronka said. “Once you’re between the lines, you’re doing whatever you can to win the game. But whatever the decision is, my focus is to get the guy out that I’m supposed to get out. But I didn’t do my job.
“I gave up three hard hits and they were at the wrong time. That killed me. Giving up seven runs in four innings is not acceptable. I’m better than that, and I’ve got to do better than that.”
Salmon, the last Angels player to get four walks in a game back on Aug. 30, 2001 at Kansas City, opened the scoring in the second inning with his seventh homer and 297th of his career, the most in franchise history. The 15-year veteran, whose playing time has diminished because of Rivera’s blistering bat, started for the first time since July 28 and was 2-for-5.
Salmon’s 33 home runs, 115 RBIs, 196 hits and .350 lifetime average against Rangers pitching are his highest figures against any team.
“Whenever Texas comes to town, you’re kind of like, `Hey, it would be nice to be in there,’ because it seems like I do get my hits,” Salmon said. “But I’m not savoring this any more than usual because it’s Texas. I’m just savoring the victory more than anything.”
Anderson had a two-run single and Robb Quinlan followed with another two-out hit that drove in a run and increased the margin to 4-0. Rivera, whose 19 homers and 61 RBIs are career highs, made it 7-0 in the fourth with his 13th home run in 28 games. It came after a two-out intentional walk to Guerrero.
“Juan’s emergence has been big for our club,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “You’d like to get into a situation where you’re lineup’s deep enough, so that if they try to take one guy’s bat out of the lineup, you can take advantage of it.”
Rivera added a sacrifice fly in the sixth, and Anderson followed with an RBI single for a 9-3 cushion.
Chone Figgins, who hasn’t batted anywhere but the leadoff spot since May 8, 2005, was not in the Angels’ starting lineup for only the eighth time in the team’s first 110 games. His .326 on-base percentage is the lowest in the majors among leadoff men with a minimum of 400 at-bats. But Scioscia said he has no plans to drop him down in the batting order. … Angels 1B Howie Kendrick grounded a double off the third base bag in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. The longest streak ever by an Angels rookie was 21 games, by Quinlan in 2004.