Angels’ 9-5 victory moves them to brink of AL West crown
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—After the Los Angeles Angels moved to the brink of their third AL West title in four years, their clubhouse wasn’t exactly giddy.
They were steamed over star Vladimir Guerrero’s having to duck two fastballs thrown near his head by Seattle reliever Jorge Campillo, the second one causing a huge scrum at the mound during Thursday night’s 9-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Los Angeles built its lead over the second-place Mariners to 9 1/2 games and clinched at least a tie for the division crown. The Angels will try to become the first team this season to lock up a postseason berth when Joe Saunders takes the mound against former Angel Jarrod Washburn on Friday night in the second of the four-game series.
Guerrero hit the deck on a Campillo pitch in the fourth inning, then dug in and hit a two-run homer off the right-hander, standing at home plate and watching as the ball cleared the fence.
Campillo already had thrown a pitch high and tight to Jeff Mathis earlier in the inning. In the top half, Angels starter Jered Weaver had hit Kenji Johjima in the back as he twisted away from a pitch.
After Campillo’s fastball whizzed pitch Guerrero’s head in the sixth, the slugger got up off the deck, pointed and started toward the mound before he was restrained.
Although both benches—and bullpens—emptied and massed around the mound, there apparently were no punches thrown. Campillo and Seattle manager John McLaren were ejected.
Mike Scioscia, who notched his 700th victory since becoming the Angels’ manager in 2000, had harsh words for Campillo.
“I don’t know where that guy came off throwing at Mathis and Guerrero. If it came from the bench, it’s more disturbing,” Scioscia said. “We haven’t had any issues with any clubs, and I don’t know where that came from.
“If that guy’s not suspended for a month, something’s wrong because those two were as flagrant as they get. Our philosophy’s not to retaliate. The league’s got to take some action and I’m sure they will.”
Guerrero, who’s been the designated hitter instead of playing right field because of a sore right triceps, said he reacted differently than usual because he was angry. He began slowly striding toward Campillo, but Seattle first baseman Ben Broussard then Scioscia got in front of the star, who didn’t get anywhere Campillo.
Guerrero then stood alone beside the plate while the other players shouted and shoved around the mound before the umpires broke it up.
“If I’m going to get hit, that’s fine. You can hit me, but stay away from my head. When they do it twice, that’s too much,” Guerrero said through a translator. “And what they did to our catcher, too.”
Weaver said he had no intention of hitting Johjima.
“That was just one of the ones of the year that got away from me,” said Weaver, who has hit only one other batter this year. “They proved their point one time, and there was no need for it to get that bad.
“Especially going after Vlade. He’s our superstar, he’s our guy who’s going to carry us in the playoffs. For them to go after him once, then go after him again is completely unnecessary. I don’t know if it was frustrating for them because we were up five runs and their season’s kind of slipping.”
McLaren defended Campillo, who was pitching in just his fifth major league game.
“Campillo threw it up and in and he overthrew it,” he said.
He also thought Guerrero should have been tossed by plate umpire Dana DeMuth.
“I was arguing that if their guy starts going to the mound, he should be gone,” McLaren said. “(DeMuth) said he only went halfway, and I said, `He went halfway, but he was stopped by our players.’ Then he said, `Well, he didn’t have a bat in his hand.”’
Garret Anderson doubled in a pair of runs and Howie Kendrick singled home two more during a five-run third inning against Ryan Feierabend as Los Angeles erased a 2-0 deficit. Juan Rivera singled home the fifth run.
The Angels, who have led the West since May 9, have dominated the Mariners this year, winning 12 of 16 meetings and going 6-1 against them in Anaheim.
Weaver (13-7) left with a 7-4 lead after five innings and won for the fifth time in his last six starts. He gave up nine hits, including Raul Ibanez’s 20th homer, a two-run shot in the fifth.
Feierabend (1-5) allowed five runs and eight hits in three innings. He walked one and struck out three.
Jose Guillen’s two-run double in the third gave the Mariners a 2-0 lead.