Angels beat Athletics 4-3 with 2-run HRs by Anderson and Kendrick, pad AL West lead to 7 1-2

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—The scenario was all too familiar. Garret Anderson got the key hit for the Los Angeles Angels and bolted from the postgame clubhouse, leaving it up to his manager and teammates to extoll his many virtues.

Anderson hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the sixth inning, making sure Howie Kendrick’s two-run shot and Jered Weaver’s gritty outing didn’t go to waste, and the Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 on Tuesday night to pad their lead in the AL West to 7 1/2 games over Seattle.

“G.A. came up with another big homer and won the game for us,” Weaver said. “The guy’s been battling injuries the last couple of years—but when he’s healthy, he’s the real deal. He’s been a real spark in our lineup.”

Anderson followed a leadoff walk to Vladimir Guerrero with his 14th homer and eighth in a span of 14 games, a towering drive into the right-field seats on an 0-1 pitch from Lenny DiNardo (8-8).

Anderson has 26 RBIs during that stretch, 10 of them in one game against the Yankees. The Angels all-time RBI leader has driven in at least one run in nine consecutive games, one shy of the franchise record set by Fred Lynn in 1984 and equaled by Wally Joyner in 1986.

“He’s certainly been on streaks like this before in his career and carried it through for a whole season,” said Mike Scioscia, who has managed Anderson for the last eight seasons. “Garret’s playing at a high level. He knows the importance of his bat re-emerging, and he’s been there in a big way for these last six or eight weeks.”

The 34-year-old Anderson is no stranger to pressure. He had the game-winning hit in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series—a tiebreaking three-run double. The three-time All-Star leads the franchise in hits, total bases and games played, in addition to his 1,195 RBIs. He averaged 120 RBIs over a four-year span before injuries limited his playing time in 2004.

“If you look at Garret’s numbers, they were off the charts for a couple of years. I mean, anybody who’s knocked in 120 runs is pretty consistent,” Scioscia said. “The biggest thing we’re seeing right now is his health, which keeps stoking his confidence. When he’s in that batter’s box, he feels like he has the tools now to do what he’s capable of doing.”

Weaver (11-6) won his third straight start, allowing two runs, seven hits and three walks over six innings while striking out five. The right-hander improved to 20-1 in 29 career starts in which the Angels scored three or more runs while he was in the game.

“I wasn’t aware of that,” Weaver said. “We started off a little slow with the bats, but I knew we were going to get to them and get some runs. So it was just a matter of keeping the guys in the game.”

Weaver escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first when he froze rookie Jack Hannahan on a called third strike that appeared to be under the knees.

“We had him on the ropes early and let him off,” A’s first baseman Dan Johnson said. “I think he let us get ourselves out, to be honest with you. I mean, he gave me a good pitch to hit with guys on second and third in the first inning. But I was way too aggressive, way out in front, and popped it up to second base. That’s basically the turning point right there.”

Darren Oliver pitched two hitless innings and Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his 34th save in 39 chances, allowing an RBI double by Shannon Stewart before striking out Nick Swisher and Jack Cust for the final two outs.

DiNardo allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings. The left-hander has allowed nine home runs in his last eight starts, after allowing only four over his first 22 appearances spanning 78 1-3 innings.

Stewart drove Weaver’s sixth pitch of the game into the lower seats in the left field corner for his 23rd career leadoff homer and the first by an Oakland player since June 6, 2006, when Mark Kotsay victimized Jake Westbrook at Cleveland. Stewart drove in all three A’s runs, one of them with a second-inning groundout.

Kendrick drove an 0-1 pitch off the rock formation in left-center in the third for his fifth home run after a leadoff single by Jeff Mathis.


Oakland DH Mike Piazza arrived at his locker before batting practice to find two shopping bags containing four boxes of decadent-looking cupcakes—a gift from his wife Alicia and 7-month-old daughter Nicoletta on his 39th birthday. … Cabrera batted in the leadoff spot for the first time this season and was 0-for-4. He started in the one hole five times last year, going 8-for-21 with four doubles and five RBIs. … Anderson stole his first base of the season in the ninth inning, matching his total in each of the previous two seasons.

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