Orioles' Erickson outshined by Angels' Washburn

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- So close to pitching an elusive shutout,
Jarrod Washburn was happy to turn the ball over to Troy Percival in
the ninth inning.

Washburn had already done his job, outdueling Scott Erickson
with eight innings of three-hit ball as the Anaheim Angels defeated
the Baltimore Orioles 1-0 Wednesday night.

''The way both guys matched each other pitch for pitch was great
to watch,'' Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia said. ''Washburn was
incredible. He was in the zone early with most guys.''

Washburn won his career-best ninth consecutive decision over 13
starts, tying Oakland's Barry Zito and Arizona's Curt Schilling for
the longest such streak in the majors this season.

''I'm happy,'' Washburn said. ''Put up eight zeros, give the
ball to Percy and we win. You can't ask for anything better. I've
never thrown a shutout and I'd like to someday, but I was happy to
give the ball to Percy.''

Darin Erstad's single up the third-base line scored the go-ahead
run in the eighth inning and snapped a 22-inning scoreless streak
for the Angels.

''I was in scratch and claw mode,'' Erstad said.

Washburn (9-2) struck out seven and walked one. The left-hander
retired 12 of the first 13 batters he faced and only allowed four
base runners.

''I was very surprised he didn't make the All-Star team,''
Erstad said of Washburn. ''He's just a flat-out competitor. He
battles and when you battle, you're going to have success.''

Troy Percival allowed a single in the ninth before finishing for
his 20th save.

Right after Baltimore's Mike Bordick robbed David Eckstein of an
RBI single up the middle, Erstad hit a dribbler up the third-base
line that Tony Batista couldn't handle cleanly.

''Something weird seems to happen almost every game,'' Erickson
said. ''I've been giving up a lot of hits like that, so it's
nothing new. It's just unfortunate that it happened with a man on

It scored pinch-runner Jose Nieves, who ran for Bengie Molina
after Molina opened the eighth with a single.

''If Tony gets rid of the ball real quick, it would have been a
close play at first base,'' Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said,
''but there's no way to defense that sort of hit.''

Erickson (3-8) remained winless in 12 starts -- the longest
drought of his career. The right-hander, who entered with a 16-5
career record against the Angels and 8-1 in Anaheim, allowed one
run and four hits in eight innings. The complete game was his
second this season and 50th of his career.

''The guy outpitched me,'' Erickson said of Washburn. ''He's
probably their best pitcher I guess, just by looking at his record.
So you know it's going to be a low-scoring game. I don't think
we've hit too many lefties very hard this year.''

Before the eighth, the closest the Angels came to scoring was in
the third when a walk to Molina and a hit-and-run play by Orlando
Palmeiro put runners on second and third. But the slow-footed
Molina didn't have a chance to score on Eckstein's line drive out
to right fielder Gary Matthews Jr. and Erstad struck out.

The Orioles ran themselves out of a run in the fifth after
opening the inning with a walk to Marty Cordova and a double by
Jose Leon. One out later, Erstad caught Bordick's flyball to center
and threw out Leon at third before Cordova could cross the plate --
negating the sacrifice fly.

Hargrove said Cordova's sore foot limits how hard and fast he
can run.

''And then I've got a young kid running at second base who's
just over aggressive,'' he said. ''You've got to make sure that run
scores. But it still took a perfect throw to get him, and Erstad
made a perfect throw.''

Game notes
A crowd of 17,477 put the Angels over the million mark in
attendance, with 1,014,362 in 42 home games. ... Washburn's only
shutout as a pro was on July 23, 1997, against Shreveport. ... The
Angels improved to 6-11 against Baltimore at Edison Field since
1999. ... Washburn's winning streak is the longest by an Angel
since Chuck Finley won 14 in a row from July 1, 1997 to May 2,