Angels 5, Rangers 3
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—It was only fitting that on the night Garret Anderson was presented with his third consecutive Gene Autry award as the Anaheim Angels’ MVP, he would score the tying and go-ahead runs and get his 200th hit of the season.
Anderson was the All-Star MVP and the Home Run Derby champ. But he had a lot more fun last season when he got the go-ahead hit in Game 7 of the World Series. This year, the injury-plagued Angels are 76-84.
“I’d throw all my numbers out the window just to get another chance to play in the postseason,” Anderson said.
Anderson became only the third player in Angels history to get 200 hits in a season. Alex Johnson won the franchise’s only AL batting title in 1970 with 202 hits, and Darin Erstad led the majors with 240 hits three seasons ago.
With 29 homers, 116 RBIs and a .315 average, Anderson is assured of joining Rick Reichardt (1968), Wally Joyner (1987) and Chili Davis (1994) as the only players to lead the Angels in all three Triple Crown categories—and play in at least 100 games.
“He’s definitely our team MVP and he’s definitely been Mr. Consistency for us,” first baseman Scott Spiezio said. “I’ve seen a lot of players have years like this, but he’s had incredible seasons in good or bad years for the last six years.”
The Angels, who won a club-record 99 games last year, will become the sixth AL franchise since 1900 to improve their record by 20 or more wins one season— then slide back by 20 or more losses the following year. The others were the Yankees (1903-05), Red Sox (1911-13 and 1945-47), Washington Senators (1942-45), Athletics (1943-45) and Indians (1985-87).
“It can’t be disappointing, because we never had a chance to play and never had a chance to get going in any aspect of the game because of all the injuries,” Anderson said. “If we were healthy, we definitely would be right there. There’s no doubt in my mind.”
Ron Mahay (3-3) walked Jeff DaVanon with one out in the eighth before Anderson grounded into a force, advanced on a wild pitch and scored when Salmon lined a 2-2 pitch to right-center. Reynaldo Garcia forced in Anaheim’s fifth run with a bases-loaded walk to pinch-hitter Wilson Delgado.
Derrick Turnbow (2-0) pitched two perfect innings after relieving starter Aaron Sele, and Francisco Rodriguez got three outs for his second save. Closer Troy Percival is sidelined for the season-ending series because of tendinitis in his right forearm.
Anderson led off the sixth with his 200th hit, a double, advanced on a groundout and scored the tying run on Spiezio’s grounder to second.
Rafael Palmeiro triggered a three-run second with his 38th homer and the 528th of his career, driving Sele’s first pitch of the inning deep into the right field seats. It was his 48th home run against the Angels, tying Seattle for the most the four-time All-Star has hit against any team.
Palmeiro, who has 107 RBIs, is the only player in major league history with at least 38 homers and 104 RBIs in nine consecutive seasons. But he’s in the same boat as Anderson. The Rangers are 70-90 and will finish last in the AL West for the fourth straight season.
“No matter how good you do as an individual, if your team didn’t win, it’s a disappointment,” Palmeiro said. “Even though this is a game of individuals, you have to do well in order for the team to do well. And when the team doesn’t do well, it’s hard to get anything positive out of it. The disappointment of losing on a consistent basis just wears on you.”
The Angels broke through with a pair of runs in the fifth. Adam Kennedy led off with a double and scored on a two-out double by rookie Alfredo Amezaga, who went to third on Chone Figgins’ infield hit and scored on a wild pitch.
Sele allowed three runs and five hits in six innings. The 32-year-old right-hander, whose season was delayed almost six weeks because of shouldersurgery last October, finished with a 5.77 ERA in 25 starts.
Anderson has been named Angels MVP four times in the last five seasons. The only other player to win the award four times was 2B Bobby Knoop. … When Mahay entered, it was the 488th appearance by a Rangers reliever, breaking theAL single-season record they set last year.
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