Angels 5, White Sox 1

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Mike Scioscia brought a winning attitude to the Angels when he became their manager eight seasons ago. Now he’s the winningest manager in franchise history.

One of his former players even had a hand in his record-breaking victory Friday night.

Darin Erstad lost a flyball in the twilight during his first game back at Angels Stadium, resulting in an RBI double by Mike Napoli, and Los Angeles beat the Chicago White Sox 5-1.

The victory was Scioscia’s 626th as Angels manager during the regular season, eclipsing Bill Rigney’s total. Scioscia has managed the Angels in 1,134 regular-season games, 168 fewer than Rigney—the team’s first manager.

“It’s a nice achievement,” Scioscia said. “But I think it reflects far more on the organization, the good talent coming through here and the great teams that have been put on the field than anything I’ve done personally. I’m happy for everyone who can share in this, including our coaching staff and our minor league staff.”

One of the reasons Erstad wanted to stay in Anaheim was Scioscia, so he had mixed feelings about being on hand for this particular victory—even though it was against his new team.

“I’m very proud of him. He deserves it,” Erstad said. “You can have great players, but you have to be able to make it work. He has that ability to get everybody on the same page to win games, and he’s obviously done that. He brought his style of play to that team and kind of ran with it.”

Scioscia also received some congratulations afterward from White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who is 615 victories shy of Jimmy Dykes’ franchise record of 899.

“That’s awesome, especially with all the good managers the Angels have had,” Guillen said. “To win all those games, you have to stay there long enough to do it. Mike’s players love to play for him, and that’s a nice compliment to the guy. He’s one of the best managers in the game and one of the most feared guys to play against because he’s always pushing the right buttons.”

Kelvim Escobar (3-1) allowed a run and six hits in seven innings, helping send Chicago to its fifth straight loss. The right-hander struck out four and walked two. Scot Shields pitched two perfect innings for his second save.

Jose Contreras (2-3) was charged with four runs and six hits in six-plus innings. He struck out six and walked three. Three of the runs were unearned, the result of his throwing error in the second inning.

Erstad, who won two Gold Gloves in center field and another at first base during his 11 big league seasons with the Angels and caught the final out when they won the 2002 World Series, received a standing ovation when he came up the first time and doffed his batting helmet to the sellout crowd of 44,126 before flying out.

Erstad got an even louder reaction in the second when Napoli’s towering flyball to center fell about 30 feet behind him for an RBI double as he waved his arms frantically to let Ryan Sweeney and Jermaine Dye know he had lost sight of it.

“It’s not the first time I’ve done that here,” Erstad said. “It’s very tough at that time of night, and it came at the wrong time. It just happened to be on the night I came back to play here for the first time, and a lot of bad things happened.”

Orlando Cabrera capped the inning with a two-run single, giving the Angels a 4-0 lead. Earlier that inning, Contreras made a poor throw to second base as he tried to turn Shea Hillenbrand’s comebacker into a double play.

Erstad was red-faced again in the third, when he slid in hard against second baseman Erick Aybar while trying to break up a potential triple-play grounder to third base by Tadahito Iguchi. Aybar had to leap for third baseman Chone Figgins’ hurried throw, but was able to tag Erstad for the second out after he overslid the bag. Dye followed with an RBI double.

The Angels had to place left fielder Garret Anderson on the 15-day disabled list before the game because of a torn tendon in his right hip, forcing Scioscia to juggle his lineup. Gary Matthews Jr., who had led off in each of the team’s first 29 games, was moved down to third in the order while Vladimir Guerrero batted cleanup for the seventh time. Matthews gave Los Angeles the lead with a sacrifice fly in the first.

Notes

Rigney guided the team to three winning seasons—including 1962, when they finished third in the 10-team AL with an 86-76 record in just their third season of operation after being in first place as late as Sept. 12. He lasted 39 games into the 1969 campaign, when he was fired after 10 straight losses and replaced by Lefty Phillips. Rigney died on Feb. 20, 2001, at age 83. … White Sox SS Juan Uribe will miss this three-game series to be with his ailing mother in Chicago.

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