Angels 5, Orioles 2, 10 innings
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Adam Kennedy made it seem like 2002 all over again.
“Adam has hit some big ones for us during his career, and that one kind of rivals the feeling we had in ’02 when he hit three against the Twins,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “It’s a great win.”
Back then, Kennedy homered three times in the clinching AL championship series game that sent the Angels to the World Series, which they won.
This time, the Rally Monkey jumped and the crowd cheered, but the Angels still have 23 games left to try to reach the playoffs.
“This is just a step along the road, but a big one with Oakland losing,” Kennedy said.
The Angels trail first-place Oakland by 5 1/2 games in the AL West. The Athletics lost to Texas 5-4.
Garret Anderson and Reggie Willits opened the 10th with singles against Julio Manon (0-1), and Kennedy hit an 0-1 pitch into the right-field seats for his third homer this season. It was the Angels’ first game-ending homer since Vladimir Guerrero’s on June 18 last year against Florida.
“You always want to be able to get a base hit in situations like that, especially this time of year,” Kennedy said.
Scioscia took the bunt sign off after Kennedy’s first pitch.
“The area that A.K. had the bunt on was shrinking,” he said. “It was going to be tough to move him over there as hard as they were crashing. It was good to give him a chance to swing the bat there with some of the holes that were going to be opened up, as opposed to trying to get a bunt down, which was going to be difficult. They defense the bunt very well.”
Kennedy has been the subject of on-and-off trade rumors since his 2002 heroics.
“He keeps giving them reasons to keep him,” Benson said. “You have to dig deep when you’re in situations like he was in and make it happen when it counts. And he did that. I’m sure when the season comes to a close that they’ll be thinking long and hard before they made a decision about him.”
Brendan Donnelly (4-0) pitched a shaky 10th inning for the win. Baltimore’s Brian Roberts singled for the fourth consecutive time and David Newhan tried to score from second on the hit, but he was thrown out by left fielder Chone Figgins to end the inning.
Manon lost in his first major league decision. He got in the game because right-hander LaTroy Hawkins’ groin problem prevented him from pitching.
“They were stacked with left-handers that inning, and that’s supposedly Manon’s specialty because of his changeup,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. “He makes the guy (Anderson) look bad with his changeup, and then he tries to sneak the fastball by him and stayed in the middle of the plate—and you can’t do that to Garret Anderson.”
Orioles closer Chris Ray relieved starter Kris Benson after eight innings and escaped his own bases-loaded jam in the ninth. Pinch-runner Erick Aybar wasn’t able to advance from third on Orlando Cabrera’s fly ball to short left field, and Guerrero grounded out to first base.
Baltimore’s Miguel Tejada went 0-for-4 with an intentional walk to snap his nine-game hitting streak.
Maicer Izturis’ RBI single gave the Angels a 1-0 lead in the third. Baltimore tied it on rookie Nick Markakis’ two-out single in the seventh off John Lackey, who allowed one run and nine hits in seven innings.
Benson gave up two runs and nine hits in eight innings, struck out five and walked three.
Roberts tallied his third four-hit game of the season and seventh of his career. … Kennedy’s first walkoff hit this season came April 11 against Texas. … The Angels have held opponents to a total of five runs in their last four games. … Guerrero has reached base safely in 31 of his last 32 games. … The announced crowd of 43,658 was the Angels’ 40th sellout.