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Tigers reliever blows 6-2 lead

5/4/2004

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- For two years, Al Levine has tried to
prove to Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia that he shouldn't have been
left off the 2002 World Series roster.

So far, Levine hasn't done anything against the Angels to change
Scioscia's mind.

Vladimir Guerrero made up for a key error with a tying RBI
single, Troy Glaus hit a go-ahead, two-run homer and the Angels
rallied past the Detroit Tigers 11-9 Monday night for their ninth
victory in 11 games.

Levine (2-2) blew the 6-2 lead he inherited from Tigers starter
Mike Maroth, who left with the bases loaded and one out in the
sixth. By the time Levine departed, the Angels had six more hits
and an 8-6 lead.

"Al's been a good reliever for a long time. And up until
probably the last three outings, he's been doing a heck of a job
for Detroit," Scioscia said. "We roughed him up a little bit up
there, and fortunately we got to him tonight."

Bengie Molina greeted his former batterymate with a two-run
single on Levine's first pitch, and Adam Kennedy added a two-out
RBI single to cap Anaheim's three-run sixth.

"You never like to see your friends get hit like that," Angels
closer Troy Percival said. "He's a real good pitcher, but it's
pretty tough when you're pitching against guys who have played
behind you for so many years and know exactly what you're going to
do. And I think that's what he got caught up with against Bengie."

The Angels added three more in the seventh on Guerrero's
run-scoring hit and Glaus' eighth homer on a 3-0 pitch.

Rookie reliever Kevin Gregg (1-0) pitched a scoreless seventh.
Detroit scored three runs in the ninth, but Percival got two outs
for his eighth save in nine chances despite giving up an RBI double
to Carlos Guillen.

"You're not always going to be pretty," Percival said. "That
team's pretty aggressive at the plate and they put the ball in play
a lot. So you take what you can get when you're playing a team that
can hit like that."

The Angels scored three times in the eighth on Darin Erstad's
RBI single, a throwing error by pitcher Danny Patterson and
Guerrero's run-scoring groundout.

Anaheim scored three runs in each of its last three at-bats.
Maroth was charged with five runs, five hits and four walks -- two
in the sixth when the Angels began their comeback with a leadoff
walk to Chone Figgins.

"I started losing my command a little bit," Maroth said.
"That's not the way you want to start an inning after you get up
by four runs. I should have gotten ahead of Figgins and make him
put it in play early in the count instead of setting up the inning
that way. That was probably the biggest disappointment for me."

Guerrero cost his team two runs in the sixth with his first
error of the season. The four-time All-Star misplayed Eric Munson's
flyball in the alley after an RBI single by Guillen, giving Detroit
a 6-2 lead.

"I have no excuses," Guerrero said through a translator. "I
don't know what happened. I don't want to make an error. But you
don't bring those things to the plate."

Ivan Rodriguez, who missed Sunday's home game against Seattle to
attend to personal matters, gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the first
inning with his third homer of the season and first in 18 career
at-bats against Bartolo Colon.

Alex Sanchez added an RBI single in the second after a two-out
double by Munson. Colon was charged with six runs -- four earned --
and 10 hits in six innings.

The Angels scored their first two runs in the fourth. Jose
Guillen and Molina hit consecutive RBI singles, moments after
Figgins was tagged out in a rundown between third and home on a
tapper back to Maroth.

"They have a good-hitting lineup, but we knew that coming in,"
Maroth said. "They're going to put the ball in play. It's
surprising that they are able to do it with some of their guys on
the DL. But they're gamers."

Game notes
Angels RHP Ramon Ortiz, who is 1-3 with a 9.28 ERA in five
starts, was demoted to the bullpen. RHP Aaron Sele will start
Thursday instead. RHP Kelvim Escobar, who missed last Saturday's
scheduled start because of a cracked nail on his middle finger,
will take his next turn Wednesday night. ... The Angels have had at
least one extra-base hit in all 26 games. ... The Tigers usually
fly on owner Mike Ilitch's private plane. But they had to settle
for a charter flight from Detroit to Anaheim because Ilitch's other
team -- the Red Wings -- has first priority during the NHL playoffs.
The plane is all theirs now, because the Red Wings were eliminated
1-0 at Calgary in overtime Monday night. ... Detroit's Bobby
Higginson is hitless in his last 16 at-bats. ... Angels SS David
Eckstein returned to the lineup after missing all but one inning of
the team's 7-2 road trip because of a groin strain. ... Glaus, who
jammed his left shoulder while diving for a grounder at third base
Friday in Minnesota, was the DH for the third straight game.