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Spiezio knocks in four runs to lift Angels to win

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Scott Spiezio has emerged as a major
contributor during the Anaheim Angels' playoff chase.

Spiezio set a new career best for RBI Sunday night, driving in
four with a three-run homer and an RBI single as the Angels beat
the Baltimore Orioles 9-3 Sunday night.

"I've always been a guy who believes in driving in runs any way
possible,'' Spiezio said. "I've made some adjustments this year
and I'm trying to do things a little bit differently. It's paying
off, and I'm just going to try to continue to do the same thing.''

Spiezio gave Anaheim a 3-1 lead in the second with his ninth
homer, following a leadoff single by Garret Anderson and a walk to
Troy Glaus. Spiezio's eighth-inning RBI increased his season total
to 69, eclipsing his previous best of 65 with Oakland in 1997. He
has 20 in his last 21 games, and is fourth on the club in RBIs --
three more than Darin Erstad.

"The pleasant surprise with Speez is the way he's swinging the
bat right-handed,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's why his
numbers have been a pleasant surprise. But there was no doubt in
our minds from the outset of the season that he could knock in runs
and contribute what he has.''

Adam Kennedy capped a five-run eighth inning with a three-run
homer, helping Anaheim win its fourth straight and 15th in 21
games. The Angels are 2½ games ahead of Seattle in the AL wild-card
race and 3½ out in the West behind Oakland, winners of 18 straight.

The Angels, who won three division titles but never a pennant in
their previous 41 seasons of existence, improved to a club-record
28 games over .500 (82-54).

"The whole order has been doing a great job,'' Spiezio said
after the Angels completed their first three-game sweep of the
Orioles in nine years. "I think the big thing is getting key hits
in key situations with guys in scoring positions.''

John Lackey (7-3) won for the fifth time in six decisions. He
gave up two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings and struck out four,
helping send the Orioles to their ninth straight loss.

"We'll get through this and get out of it, and we'll be OK,''
Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said. "Right now, it's ugly. Every
little glitch and every little mistake that you make is magnified.
But at least we didn't beat ourselves tonight, which is what we've
done pretty regularly in these past nine games. It'll be good to
get home, you bet.''

Lackey departed with a 4-1 lead and the bases loaded before
Brendan Donnelly came on and walked Chris Richard to force in a
run. Donnelly had stranded all 21 previous runners he inherited
this season and retired his first batter in 28 of 31 appearances.

"The two things every reliever takes pride in is getting the
first batter he faces and keeping the other peoples' runners on
base,'' Donnelly said. "A lot of it has had to do with quality
defensive plays after I've come into the game.''

Baltimore put runners at second and third in the seventh against
Ben Weber, who escaped the jam by striking out Melvin Mora and
retiring Jerry Hairston on a groundout.

Scott Schoeneweis surrendered a two-out double by Jeff Conine
and a bloop RBI single by Jay Gibbons, trimming Anaheim's lead to a
run in the eighth. But Troy Percival got four outs for his 32nd
save in 36 attempts.

Rookie Rodrigo Lopez (14-7) allowed four runs and six hits in 6
2-3 innings. The right-hander is 2-4 since winning all six starts
in July, when he became the first Orioles pitcher in 23 years to go
6-0 in a month.

The Angels made it 4-1 in the fifth when Erstad singled, stole
second and scored on Orlando Palmeiro's double. Spiezio and Brad
Fullmer had RBI singles in the eighth against Willis Roberts and
Kennedy greeted Buddy Groom with his fifth homer this season -- all
of them coming at Edison Field.

The Orioles, no-hit through 5 1/3 innings in each of the
previous two games by Mickey Callaway and Ramon Ortiz, got hits
from three of their first four batters. Hairston opened the scoring
with his fifth home run after Mora led off with a single and was
caught stealing by Bengie Molina.

Game notes
The victory clinched Scioscia's second winning season in
three years as a big-league manager. The Angels were 82-80 in 2000,
before slipping to 75-87 last year. ... All seven of the Angels'
three-game sweeps against the Orioles have been at home -- the
previous one coming on May 28-30, 1993. ... All five of Hairston's
homers have been solo shots. ... Tony Batista was 1-for-19 this
season against Anaheim before his first-inning single to center,
but Erstad threw him out trying to stretch it into a double. ...
Erstad has 43 outfield assists in his career and 11 this season.
Angels outfielders have 23 assists. ... Glaus, who stole second and
third base in the fourth, is 19-for-25 on stolen base attempts
since the start of last season.