K-Rod gets 47th save as Angels beat Indians 4-3

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CLEVELAND (AP)—The Los Angeles Angels are relentless, especially when handed extra opportunities.

John Lackey earned his fourth straight win, Francisco Rodriguez tied his team record of 47 saves and the Angels took advantage of four Cleveland errors to defeat the Indians 4-3 Saturday.

Lackey (10-2) pitched six innings to remain unbeaten in his last six starts. The Angels added to baseball’s best record and avoided their first three-game losing streak since June.

Lackey gave the Angels five starters with 10 or more wins for the first time in team history. He joined Joe Saunders (14), Ervin Santana (13), Jon Garland (11) and Jered Weaver (10) in double figures.

“It’s definitely pretty cool,” Lackey said. “It means you have a chance to win a lot of games.”

Rodriguez yielded a single to Jhonny Peralta to open the ninth, then got three quick outs—two on strikeouts—to match his saves mark set in 2006. The All-Star closer narrowly escaped a second consecutive blown save when Ryan Garko lined a 2-2 pitch inches foul with pinch-runner Franklin Gutierrez on second and two outs. Garko fanned on a 3-2 offering in the dirt.

“That was close, but that’s the way it goes sometimes, an inch here or there,” Garko said. “He’s a good pitcher, but I’ve got to do a better job with first base open and a 3-2 pitch. I have to figure he’s not going to challenge me. He threw a changeup or split. I went after it. I shouldn’t have.”

Rodriguez bounced back from his fifth blown save on Wednesday, when he yielded three runs to Seattle and drew his first career ejection.

Garret Anderson extended his hitting streak to 20 games with two singles to help Los Angeles improve to 19-7 since the All-Star break.

Lackey allowed three runs and six hits, including a solo homer by David Dellucci in the first and a two-run shot by Garko in the fourth.

“I was only upset about the second (homer),” Lackey said. “It was a dumb pitch.”

Angels reliever Darren Oliver gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases with no outs in the seventh, then stranded all three runners to maintain a 4-3 lead. He fanned Kelly Shoppach, got Garko when shortstop Erick Aybar made a leaping catch of his blooper in short left, and retired pinch-hitter Jamey Carroll on a one-hopper back to the mound.

“He always does something out there the normal person can’t do,” Oliver said about Aybar’s acrobatic catch.

Indians manager Eric Wedge said that despite the fine play, his hitters should have capitalized.

“That was some kind of play he made, but you’ve got to get at least one run across there,” Wedge said. “As bad as we played, we still had opportunities and didn’t take advantage.”

Scot Shields pitched a scoreless eighth to set up Rodriguez.

The Angels manufactured a first-inning run off Fausto Carmona (5-5). Chone Figgins beat out an infield hit off Carmona’s glove, went to second on an error by Peralta at shortstop, third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout by Vladimir Guerrero.

Carmona had not allowed an earned run to the Angels in 11 2-3 career innings.

Two more Indians errors and another wild pitch helped give the Angels a 4-1 lead in the third.

“It was pretty ugly out there,” Wedge said. “I don’t think you can play worse than we did early on.”

Aybar drew a one-out walk and went to third on a single by Mark Teixeira. Right fielder Ben Francisco’s throw trying to get Aybar skipped past third baseman Andy Marte for an error, scoring Aybar and putting Teixeira on third.

Marte then threw away a grounder by Guerrero as Teixeira scored. Guerrero went to second on the error, stole third and scored on Carmona’s second wild pitch.

Teixeira, acquired July 30 from Atlanta, went 1-for-2 with two walks and is hitting .429 (18-for-42) with four homers and 13 RBIs over his last 11 games.

Carmona, a 19-game winner in 2007 who missed two months this year with a strained left hip, dropped to 1-3 in five starts since being activated July 26. He didn’t get a strikeout for the second time in 54 career starts. He had zero strikeouts against Kansas City on May 22, 2007.

The right-hander said the errors didn’t rattle him.

“They are part of the game,” Carmona said. “There are days guys catch the ball and help you. It didn’t affect my concentration. I could not let that happen.”

Notes

Mike Hargrove and the late Joe Gordon, who each played and managed for Cleveland, were inducted into the Indians Hall of Fame in pregame ceremonies. … The Indians wore replica uniforms from 1948, when Gordon helped them to their last World Series title. … The game was telecast at the ballpark in black and white and the scoreboard gave minimal information as it would have 60 years ago at old Cleveland Stadium. … Anderson has hit .386 (32-for-83) during his streak. He hit safely in 28 straight games in 1998. … Shoppach fanned three times and has 18 strikeouts in his last 34 at-bats. He’s in a 3-for-31 (.097) slump. … Francisco has hit .354 (23-for-65) in his last 16 games.

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