ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—The Los Angeles Angels usually don’t rely on home run clusters like the one they had against Cleveland on Wednesday. But the Indians are giving them up at an alarming rate, and one thing led to another.
“We’re hitting home runs right now, which is good for us, but we’re a situational team,” Napoli said. “We know what we’ve got to do. Moving guys over, going from first to third, being aggressive on the bases—that’s who we are.
“But anytime you get home runs up and down the lineup, it’s pretty good.”
Dustin Moseley (1-1) allowed four runs on nine hits and struck out five over six innings after getting staked to a 6-0 lead. The Indians rallied with four runs in the sixth as Jhonny Peralta homered, Casey Blake hit an RBI double and Kelly Shoppach added a two-run shot.
But Guerrero greeted Lewis with a drive to left-center in the seventh for a 9-4 lead after Chone Figgins led off the inning with a broken-bat single and Gary Matthews Jr. reached on a fielding error by Blake at third base.
Byrd (0-2) allowed six runs and five hits in three innings, raising his ERA to 11.05. The 37-year-old right-hander, whose name was included in the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs, had his $7.5 million option for this season picked up by the Indians after capping off a 15-8 campaign with victories in both of his postseason starts.
“It’s been a distraction at times when I’m not on the mound, but it hasn’t really caused me to lose concentration,” Byrd said of the Mitchell controversy. “My head’s pretty clear. I just haven’t had my command at all and I haven’t had very good stuff. To pitch up here, you have to have one of the two, and I have neither right now.”
Napoli gave the Angels a 4-0 lead with his third homer of the season on a cut fastball down and away, after Byrd allowed a single by Torii Hunter, a walk to Kotchman and a single to right by Maicer Izturis. Hunter broke back toward second when Izturis’ ball was hit and had to be held up at third, giving Napoli the opportunity for the grand slam.
“Nap got a pitch over the plate and he didn’t miss it. It was a big hit for us at the time,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “Today was a day you could tell coming out of the chute that the ball was going to be flying.”
It was the second slam in three games for the Angels, including Hunter’s game-winner in the ninth on Monday night against closer Joe Borowski. It also marked the first time they had two grand slams in the same series since April 2002, when shortstop David Eckstein connected both times against Toronto relievers Scott Cassidy and Pedro Borbon.
“I’m trying to figure out how to get the ball down,” Byrd said. “I’m making a good pitch, but then I leave the ball sitting on a tee over the middle of the plate. And I can’t do that. When I do miss, it’s like batting practice and you just watch them go over the wall.”
Anderson and Kotchman extended the margin to 6-0 with solo shots in the third. The Angels hit seven home runs in the three-game series—three more than they had in their 10 meetings with the Indians last season. Cleveland’s pitching staff has allowed 14 home runs through its first nine games, after giving up the second-fewest by any AL team last year.
Travis Hafner, whose two-run homer in the ninth off Justin Speier gave the Indians a 4-3 win Tuesday night, was plunked by Speier with two out in the ninth and went straight to first base. After all, it was getaway day for the Indians.
“It didn’t look too good, did it? But you never know,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “It’s hard to categorize something like that.”
Hafner downplayed the incident.
“Who knows if it was intentional? I don’t really have an opinion on it,” he said. “We lost the game, and that’s really the only thing that matters.”
It was the first four-RBI game in the majors for Napoli, whose 16 homers in 2006 were the most by a rookie in franchise history. … The Angels hit only five grand slams all of last season. … Angels RHP John Lackey, sidelined since March 21 because of a strained triceps, is scheduled to have a full bullpen session on Thursday. He’ll throw only fastballs. … Scioscia, who attended about 200 games at Veterans Stadium while he was growing up in the Philadelphia area, was given a miniature treasure chest with grass from that ballpark and a vial of the rubble from the stadium’s implosion on March 21, 2004, by a fan during spring training. Both items now sit on his desk in the Angels clubhouse.