Angels 9, Reds 7

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CINCINNATI (AP)—No surprise that the Los Angeles Angels look cozy in unfamiliar NL ballparks. Their offense fits that other league.

Vladimir Guerrero’s bases-loaded single highlighted a six-run seventh inning Thursday that set up a 9-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds, who couldn’t do enough to get a win for rookie Homer Bailey.

It was the type of rally that National League teams admire—10 batters, four singles, three walks, one sacrifice fly.

“We’re not going to hit three-run homers and grand slams and all that stuff,” said Gary Matthews Jr., who provided the sacrifice fly. “But it seems that when we need to, guys bear down and focus and have good at-bats.”

The versatile offense has been a key to the Angels’ unprecedented success— that, and a pitching staff that is about as good as its gets from top to bottom.

The AL West leaders improved to 7-2 in interleague play by taking two of three from the Reds, who have the NL’s worst record and one of its most combustible bullpens. Los Angeles pulled this one out by having everyone in the order do a little bit.

No grand gesture was needed.

“When we’re going good, that’s the type of lineup that we have,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “In the last month, we have been (good) top to bottom.”

The Angels have been good for longer than that.

The latest victory left the Angels at another high point in their unprecedented season—17 games over .500 for the second time. Their 42-25 mark represents the best start in franchise history.

Since May 9, the Angels have been on a 25-9 tear, best in the majors.

By contrast, the Reds remain at the bottom of the NL largely because of their bullpen. The latest implosion cost Bailey a chance to go 2-for-2 in big-league starts.

The 21-year-old Bailey, who is Cincinnati’s most heralded pitching prospect in more than a decade, turned a 5-3 lead over to the bullpen after walking the first two batters in the seventh.

“It was a hot day, but that had nothing to do with it,” said Bailey, who threw 101 pitches. “I just backed off. I was trying to do too much.”

Bailey got a standing ovation from the crowd of 32,860 as he walked slowly off the field. Moments later, the ballpark rang with boos.

Gary Majewski (0-1) walked Orlando Cabrera to force in a run, then gave up Guerrero’s two-run single that put the Angels ahead. Guerrero also had a sacrifice fly off Bailey, giving him seven RBIs in his last two games.

“Really rough to go out and do the exact opposite of what I wanted to do,” Majewski said. “To come in and give up another pitcher’s runs—I have to be better than that.”

Casey Kotchman and Jose Molina had RBI singles off Mike Stanton that completed the decisive rally.

Francisco Rodriguez gave up Ken Griffey Jr.’s RBI groundout in the ninth, before striking out Adam Dunn for his AL-leading 21st save in 22 chances. The Angels have won their last 113 games when leading after eight innings.

Bartolo Colon (6-2) gave an encouraging performance before fading in the sixth. The right-hander missed a start on June 2 because of soreness in his triceps, and went only four innings his last time out.

He was back in form in the first five innings Thursday, limiting the Reds to five singles while striking out six. Homers by Griffey and Alex Gonzalez put the Reds up 5-3 in the sixth.

In the last few days, Colon has worked out a kink in his delivery.

“I wasn’t bending down enough,” he said, through a translator. “I was able to bend a little more and finish my pitches.”

Griffey’s solo shot was the 579th of his career, leaving him four behind Mark McGwire for seventh place. He has homered in four of his last six starts, and has a team-high 16.

The Reds were looking to see how Bailey, the seventh overall draft pick three years ago, handled his second major league start. The hard-throwing right-hander lasted only five innings in his debut Friday, getting the win in a 4-3 victory over Cleveland.

He was better this time. Bailey gave up seven hits, walked three and struck out one before becoming the latest Reds starter victimized by the bullpen.


The Angels’ Chone Figgins extended his hitting streak to 13 games, matching his career high. … The Angels have hit .339 and averaged 7.2 runs while taking four of their last six games in St. Louis and Cincinnati. … Griffey has 44 homers in interleague play, matching Carlos Delgado for second on the career list. Jim Thome has hit 52. … Reds CF Josh Hamilton left the game after the fifth inning because he felt dizzy on the hot, sunny afternoon. … Scott Hatteberg matched his career high with four hits.

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