Guerrero hits 2 homers, leads Angels over Orioles 10-5
BALTIMORE (AP)—Looks like Vladimir Guerrero has sufficiently recovered from the arm injury that forced him to miss four games.
Guerrero had been out because of an inflamed right triceps. The star right fielder came back as the designated hitter for the AL West leaders.
“If Vlad can swing the bat, that’s big,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said before the game. “Just to get his bat in the lineup, that’s important.”
To say the least.
“Any time one the best players in baseball is back in your lineup, it makes you better as a team,” said teammate Reggie Willits, who had three of the Angels’ 14 hits.
“I think both those pitches didn’t have much finish on them,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “With Guerrero, he’s such a great hitter, I think you’re probably better off making him hit pitches out of the strike zone than you are throwing him pitches in the strike zone. The guy’s a great bad ball hitter to begin with. I think you’re complicating the matter even more when you throw the ball in the middle of the plate to him.”
It was Guerrero’s 33rd career multihomer game, the fourth this season. He needs one more home run to reach 25 for a 10th consecutive year.
The Angels, however, lost center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. to a sprained right ankle. X-rays were negative, and the team said he will miss at least the next five games.
He left in the third inning after his spikes got caught in the dirt during an awkward slide into second base on a two-out grounder to shortstop Miguel Tejada, who threw to first—not second—base.
“I thought I broke it,” said Matthews, who was on crutches and wearing a protective brace. “I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to play in the playoffs. But it’s not broken. Now it’s a matter of getting the swelling down so we can strengthen it.”
Chone Figgins doubled twice and drove in three runs as the Angels won their fifth straight road game. They’re 49-25 at home and 36-34 on the road.
Los Angeles also played without infielder Maicer Izturis, who has a sore right foot.
“It’s part of baseball. Guys are going to get nicked up,” Scioscia said. “We’re getting down here to crunch time, it’s not an opportune time. You deal with what you’re dealt. We have depth on this club, and we have to keep moving forward.”
Joe Saunders (8-3) gave up four runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings, but received enough offensive backing to earn his first victory in four starts since Aug. 19.
Kevin Millar went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs for the Orioles, who have lost 17 of 20. The defeat assured Baltimore (61-82) its 10th consecutive losing season.
Santos (0-1), making his Baltimore debut, allowed five runs and seven hits in 2 2-3 innings. He was the 25th pitcher used by the Orioles this year, breaking the club record of 24 set in 2006.
“I felt all right, but in the third inning I didn’t make many good pitches and they took advantage of it,” Santos said. “You can’t make those kinds of mistakes against a first-place team.”
It was the sixth straight game in which a Baltimore starter failed to get past the fifth inning.
“I think it’s beyond concern,” Trembley said. “It’s just been a fact that we’ve lived with far too long.”
Los Angeles trailed 1-0 before batting around in the third inning. After Willits singled in a run and Figgins ended an 11-pitch at-bat with an RBI double, Orlando Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly. Guerrero sent Santos’ next pitch over the center-field wall.
Figgins doubled in a run in the fourth, and Millar hit a two-run homer in the bottom half.
Tejada hit an RBI single in the bottom half to make it 9-5.
Figgins, who had three hits, drew a bases-loaded walk off Radhames Liz in the ninth.
Figgins went 3-for-4 and is 19-for-32 (.594) against the Orioles this season. … Over the last 20 games, Baltimore has been outscored 178-89. … Guerrero has 24 RBIs in his last 23 games and has hit safely in 19 of the last 21.