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Owens two-run single lifts Angels over A's

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- In a clubhouse full of players with World
Series rings on their fingers, Eric Owens sticks out like a sore
thumb.

But his tiebreaking two-run single Saturday night in the Anaheim
Angels' 9-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics helped Owens blend
in nicely with a potent lineup that has produced 39 runs in its
past four home games.

The Angels are Owens' fifth major league team, and this one is
loaded with talent. They are the first team since the 1987
Minnesota Twins that did not make any changes to their starting
lineup the year after winning it all.

''I'm happy for all these guys because they deserve it, the way
they play the game. The reason I came here is to get to the
playoffs and experience it for myself,'' said Owens, who signed as
a free agent on New Year's Eve after spending the previous two
seasons with the Florida Marlins.

''It makes me feel special that these guys have taken me in like
they have. This is the best team continuity that I've ever been
around. You've just got to know your role, and mine is coming in
and pinch-hitting in certain situations. I'm glad to be here and be
part of a winning team.''

Garret Anderson hit a three-run homer and World Series most valuable player Troy
Glaus had a pair of run-scoring singles. Ben Weber (1-0) earned the victory
with 2 2/3 innings of perfect relief, improving to 14-4 since the
start of the 2001 season.

After Oakland pulled ahead 4-3 with a four-run sixth, the Angels
scored five times in the bottom half to take an 8-4 lead.

Glaus drove in the tying run -- beating the Athletics'
overshifted infield with an opposite-field ground single to the
right side off the glove of diving second baseman Mark Ellis. That
chased starter John Halama, who was charged with six runs -- three
earned -- and five hits in five-plus innings.

''They're an aggressive team, and I'm a guy who's going to go
out there and throw strikes,'' Halama said. ''That's a good lineup
over there, and they just found the holes.''

Scott Spiezio advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt against
Ricardo Rincon (0-1), and pinch-hitter Shawn Wooten reached on the
first intentional walk this season by the A's pitching staff. The
move backfired, as Owens slapped an 0-1 pitch to right for a 6-4
lead.

''The most difficult thing to do is to come off the bench and
pinch-hit, because you only have one shot at being the goat or the
hero of the night,'' Owens said. ''There aren't very many guys in
the game who can do it.''

Chone Figgins followed with a sacrifice fly and David Eckstein
delivered a run-scoring single that capped the rally. Glaus added a run-scoring single in the seventh against Michael Neu.

''Guys are just putting good at-bats together and finding the
holes,'' Anderson said.

Pitching in 63-degree weather through a steady mist, Angels
right-hander Mickey Callaway allowed with three runs and six hits
in 5 1/3 innings, handing a 3-1 lead to Scott Schoeneweis.

Jermaine Dye chased Callaway with a run-scoring single, Erubiel Durazo
singled home another run and Terrence Long tied it with a bloop run-scoring double that fell just inside the left-field line. Schoeneweis
intentionally walked Ramon Hernandez, and pinch-hitter Ron Gant put
Oakland ahead 4-3 with a sacrifice fly.

Anderson's first homer of the season came after Halama's two-out
fielding error. First baseman Scott Hatteberg went into the hole to
glove Darin Erstad's grounder and Halama hustled to cover the bag,
but dropped the throw.

''That would have closed that inning out,'' Oakland manager Ken
Macha said. ''But it was a tough play. He's a left-hander who falls
off to the other side of the mound. And the reason he missed the
ball, I think is that he was looking for the bag and took his eye
off the ball.''

Halama walked Tim Salmon before Anderson drove a 2-1 slider into
the right-field seats for the Angels' only hit through the first
four innings.

''At this level, you can't afford to make those little mistakes
because teams will take advantage of it,'' Anderson said.

Game notes
Oakland was the only American League team whose pitchers had not hit a
batter -- until Halama plunked Eckstein leading off the first. Last
season the Athletics' staff hit 62 batters, just two shy of the
Oakland record. ... Eckstein has been hit a major league-leading 51
times since the start of the 2001 season. ... The Angels and
Athletics are the only teams without a triple. ... Halama's
no-decision kept him 7-0 in nine career starts against the Angels.
He is 1-1 against them as a reliever. ... Since the Most Valuable
Player Award was established in 1931, four members of the Athletics
have been named AL MVP the same year they played in their first
All-Star game -- Miguel Tejada (2002), Jason Giambi (2000), Vida
Blue (1971) and Jimmie Foxx (1933). Of the 14 AL players who have
done it, the only shortstop other than Tejada is Cal Ripken Jr.
(1983). ... Glaus was 4-for-26 lifetime against Halama before his
run-scoring single in the sixth.