Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Seventh Heaven: Angels Rally to Drop Magic Number to 9

The Angels staged a dramatic 4-run seventh-inning rally to defeat the Texas Rangers 7-6 in a game where the Angels looked outgunned at the plate and overmatched on the mound. Texas starter Kameron Loe cruised through the first 3.1 innings, giving up just a run on 2 hits and a K. But while facing Vladamir Guerrero the Angel slugger returned a K-Lo offering in the form of a line drive directly at his skull. The ball miraculously hit Loe's head perfectly, deflecting to third base for the out and not leaving a cut or a mark of any kind (at least initially). Loe left the game but he looked as though he was ready to start pitching again. Hopefully his injury was as mild as it appeared but to anyone who has seen the replay, dude is lucky to be alive much less unharmed.

But despite Loe leaving the game the Angels managed just one more run off the Ranger pen through the next 3.2 innings while the Rangers touched-up Lackey for four runs and Brendan Donnelly for one more to open up a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the seventh. Then the Angels started playing small ball with three singles before Orlando Cabrera singled again to cash in two of the baserunners and cut the Texas lead to 5-4. Buck Showalter elected to walk Guerrero with runners at first at second to load the bases again. Then pinch-hitter Jose Molina singled up the middle to bring in two more runs and give the Halos the lead, 6-5. Frankie Rodriguez made it stand-up in the 9th, notching his 40th save of the season, and the Angels opened up a 2 1/2 game lead over Oakland.

Showalter made three pitching changes in the seventh inning and each time the incoming pitcher gave up a key hit (or two). While Showalter looked like an ineffective general, Sciocsia came off as a genius, countering the Texas pitchers with pinch-hitters Robb Quinlan and Jose Molina who both came through with clutch hits.


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