Angels 8, Indians 0

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—For a guy who didn’t feel too hot during warmups, Kelvim Escobar was downright sizzling in the afternoon sun.

Escobar pitched a seven-hitter, Gary Matthews Jr. hit a three-run homer to highlight a five-run third inning and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Cleveland Indians 8-0 Thursday.

Escobar (4-1) struck out a season-high nine and walked none to win his third straight start. It was his fourth career shutout and first since he did it for the Toronto Blue Jays on June 8, 2003, at Cincinnati.

“I didn’t feel that good in the bullpen. When you step on the field, you feel better,” he said. “I stayed within myself the whole time, making good pitches. If I can move my fastball around like that, I’m going to get a lot of people out because my secondary pitches are good, and I can keep the hitters off balance.”

Catcher Jose Molina stole home in the fourth to make it 6-0, part of a delayed double steal. Reggie Willits took second and Molina came home in a close play at the plate.

“Hey, get out of the way,” Molina joked to a teammate after the game. “You’ve got the fast guy here now.”

Although he’d practiced stealing home in spring training, Molina never thought he would do it in a game.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia, an ex-catcher himself, got a kick out Molina’s feat.

“I told Jose, `You caught a shutout and stole home in the same day. That’s something you’re going to be able to keep for a long time,”’ he said.

The Angels won their AL-leading 14th home game and took two of three from the Indians. Their eight runs were more than they totaled in three previous games.

“We’re slumping a little bit,” Escobar said. “We have some trouble scoring runs. That’s nice to see the team score eight runs. Hopefully, we can do that more consistently. With the kind of pitching we have, we’re going to compete.”

Jeremy Sowers (0-3) gave up six runs and nine hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked one.

“We had a good opportunity to win a couple of these games here,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “The way I look at it, Escobar really stepped up for them, and a couple of their offensive guys stepped up for them last night. Offensively, we’re nowhere near what we’re capable of doing as a ballclub right now. So we just need to keep grinding it out.”

The Angels’ struggling offense came alive in the third when they batted around in taking a 5-0 lead. With two outs, Sowers intentionally walked Vladimir Guerrero to load the bases. Robb Quinlan followed with a two-run single into shallow left field.

Matthews, whose homer provided the go-ahead run in the Angels’ 3-2 victory Wednesday, sent an 0-1 pitch from Sowers over the center-field wall.

“They’ve got their one stud in Guerrero, but around him they just find ways to get guys on base, make things happen and score runs,” Sowers said. “They’re not just going to go station-to-station and just hit doubles and home runs off you. They’re going to manufacture runs and they’re very good at it.”

Guerrero added a two-run double off Edward Mujica in the sixth.

Notes

It was Escobar’s first complete game since Aug. 28, 2006, a 2-0 loss to the Mariners. … The Angels open a seven-game trip to Texas and Seattle on Friday. They are 8-4 against AL West opponents. … Chone Figgins snapped an 0-for-12 drought with a double in the third for the Angels. … The Indians are 8-2-1 in series this season. … Los Angeles has three homers in its last two games after totaling one in four previous games on the homestand. … 3B Matt Brown made his major league debut for the Angels as a defensive replacement in the eighth. … The Angels turned two double plays, increasing their AL lead in that category to 42.

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