Indians 14, Angels 2
CLEVELAND (AP)—Ryan Garko had acted out his first big league homer many times as a youngster. Actually hitting it was an even bigger thrill.
“It’s a special feeling, one I dreamed about since I was a kid,” said Garko, whose 431-foot drive over the center-field wall gave Cleveland a 13-2 lead in the sixth inning. “I didn’t know how to react. It sank in when I got high-fives in the dugout. That’s when I realized, ‘I did it.’ “
Garko also hit a three-run double that capped Cleveland’s seven-run fourth to help the Indians win consecutive games for the first time since July 3-4. Cleveland claimed its first series since taking two of three from Cincinnati June 30-July 2.
The Angels, who dropped 3 1/2 games behind AL West-leading Oakland, lost starter Ervin Santana (12-6) after five pitches. The right-hander bruised the inside of his left knee when hit by a line drive off the bat of Jason Michaels and is day to day.
He tried to talk manager Mike Scioscia into not removing him.
“It was very bad,” Santana said. “I thought it was broken or something. I told Mike I wanted to stay in, but he said, `No, no, you’re done.’ It was hit too hard. Tomorrow I know it will hurt, but that’s OK. I’ll be ready for my next start.”
Scioscia wasn’t as sure.
“It hit about as square as a ball can hit someone,” he said. “There’s no structural damage. It’s a deep bruise. It could have been worse, but it still could be bad. We’re optimistic, but won’t know for a couple days.”
After the game, right-hander Chris Bootcheck was recalled from Salt Lake City and outfielder Tommy Murphy optioned to the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate. Scioscia said right-hander Dustin Moseley could be recalled from Salt Lake if Santana is unable to pitch next week.
Los Angeles already is without 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon, on the disabled list due to tendinitis in his right arm.
Lee (10-8), one of four players acquired by Cleveland in a June 2002 trade that sent Colon to the Montreal Expos, improved to 1-2 in five starts since July 13. The left-hander, signed to a $14 million, three-year contract extension Tuesday, allowed two runs and nine hits over seven innings in his 100th career start. He struck out five without a walk, improving to 45-25 in his career.
“That was some pretty impressive offense,” Lee said. “It took the pressure off. I just tried to go out and pitch and not walk anybody.”
Cleveland put runners on second and third with no outs in the second but scored only once on an RBI groundout by Hafner.
“I put the pitch where I wanted,” Lee said, “But he just got me. They took the momentum there, but our offense grabbed it right back. That was huge.”
Michaels doubled home two runs against J.C. Romero in the bottom half, Hafner had an RBI double and Choo hit a run-scoring single to make it 7-2. Garko then sliced an opposite-field drive to right off Hector Carrasco for three more runs.
Victor Martinez and Choo each drove in runs in the fifth.
Angels 3B Chone Figgins, one of the fastest runners in baseball, needed all his speed to run away from a flying piece of a broken bat in the third. SS Orlando Cabrera hit a foul ball that went past Figgins leading off third, with the barrel of the bat sailing at Figgins, too. … Hafner’s double in the fourth broke an 0-for-15 streak. … Aaron Boone switched from third base to second in the seventh inning for Cleveland. He had not played second since April 20, 2003, for Cincinnati. He replaced Inglett, who sprained his left foot. … Romero’s ERA soared to 7.54 as he gave up six runs in one-third of an inning. … A female fan was helped from the first row behind the Angels dugout in the eighth after being hit by Maicer Izturis’ bat. He lost control of the bat when he swung and missed at a pitch from RHP Fausto Carmona. As the bat went sailing into the stands, catcher Martinez doubled over in pain, having been hit in the foot with the pitch. “I’m OK,” said Martinez. “I hope the lady is, too.”