Matsui’s slam lifts Angels over Rockies 4-2

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—With one swing, Hideki Matsui(notes) reached a personal milestone and gave the Los Angeles Angels enough offense for a win.

Matsui hit a grand slam in the first inning to give the Angels a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.

Matsui’s homer was his 150th in the major leagues and 482nd since he began playing with Tokyo’s Yomiuri Giants.

“I don’t really pay that much attention to milestones or my career numbers,” Matsui said through an interpreter. “I mean, it’s nice to reach those numbers. But I don’t focus on adding this number and that number.”

Joe Saunders(notes) (6-8) struck out a season-high eight batters in seven innings. Relievers Fernando Rodney(notes) and Brian Fuentes(notes) combined with him to allow just one hit and one walk in the final four innings. Fuentes earned his 13th save of the season.

“With the quality lefties they’ve got in the lineup, my curveball and my slider had to be pretty good,” Saunders said. “I was throwing them for strikes early and, for the most part, getting ahead of guys.”

Saunders, who was an All-Star in 2008, said he hopes the victory will become a turning point for him.

“It’s a good start to build off of,” Saunders said. “Everybody knows I haven’t been pitching that well this year.”

Rockies starter Aaron Cook(notes) (2-5) retired 17 consecutive batters after giving up Matsui’s home run. Cook allowed four hits and a walk, and induced 15 groundouts.

“They always say you can’t win a game in the first inning,” Cook said. “But you sure can lose it.”

“It was unfortunate for Cookie because that was as good a game as he’s pitched all year,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “He really had a good feel for and command of his slider.”

Colorado scored its runs on Clint Barmes’(notes) home run in the third and Miguel Olivo’s(notes) RBI single in the fourth.

With one out in the first, Kevin Frandsen(notes) singled, Bobby Abreu(notes) reached on shortstop Clint Barmes’ throwing error and Torii Hunter(notes) hit a bloop single into short right field.

Matsui then drove 3-0 pitch out to center field that Carlos Gonzalez(notes) just missed making a leaping catch on.

“I was waiting for a sinker,” Matsui said. “But I was waiting for a sinker that was up in the zone.”

Colorado scored its runs on Barmes’ home run in the third and Miguel Olivo’s single that brought Melvin Mora(notes) home in the fourth.

The Rockies brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth after Mora walked. But second baseman Howie Kendrick(notes) leaped high to catch Olivo’s line drive, then threw to first baseman Mike Napoli(notes) to retire Mora and end the game on a double play.

Notes: Frandsen extended his hitting streak to seven games, a career high. … Fuentes converted his seventh consecutive save opportunity. … Mora started at first base for the second time in his career. Mora’s other one was June 9 against Houston.

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