Guerrero recorded his 1,000th career RBI in the first inning
before hitting his fourth career grand slam, and the Angels
capitalized on two controversial rulings by first base umpire Bill
Welke to beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 9-2 Saturday night.
Guerrero, the only outfielder other than Reggie Jackson to start
three All-Star games in an Angels uniform, is 22-for-50 over his
last 13 games following a 6-for-45 rut and has raised his average
to .306. The seven-time All-Star had never batted under .300 over a
full major league season.
"He's like that every year," hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said
of Guerrero's up-and-down season. "He went through that same
period with us last year. He'll go through those ugly periods where
everybody says 'You've got to take pitches,' but he always believes
he's got to swing himself out of it. You can tell when he steps in
the box that he's feeling good about himself. That's why he's
capable of carrying a team through a period of time."
Orlando Cabrera doubled with two out in the first and scored
when Guerrero singled through the left side of the infield on the
next pitch, becoming the seventh-fastest to reach 1,000 RBI among
active players. The 2004 AL MVP made it 8-2 in the seventh with a
drive to center field against reliever Chad Harville. It was
Guerrero's 20th home run.
"Their big guy did it again for them," said Devil Rays manager
Joe Maddon, who was the Angels' bench coach during Guerrero's first
two seasons with the team. "He has this propensity to hit in
clutch situations, and he's always been that way.
"Sometimes, Vlad will get into bad streaks because he gets out
of rhythm a little bit because there's a lot of movement going on
with his swing, or he might just be a little fatigued. But when
that fellow's well-rested, he's very dangerous. And when he gets
hot, there's nobody hotter."
Ervin Santana (11-3) won his seventh straight decision, allowing
two runs and four hits in seven innings and striking out six. The
right-hander has a 2.96 ERA in eight starts during that stretch.
"He's on a pretty good run, but I think he showed last year
that he had that ability," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's got
a little more experience now and his confidence is growing with
The Angels were a season-worst 11 games under .500 following a
loss at Texas on May 22, but the two-time defending AL West
champions are 45-45 after winning nine of 10 games. They have
climbed within 1½ games of Oakland and Texas.
"There's nobody in here that has it in them to fold the tent,"
Scioscia said. "The first step for us was not to get back to .500,
but to win our game the next day. Our challenge right now is not
the standings, but tomorrow's ballgame."
James Shields (4-3) was charged with six runs and nine hits in
six-plus innings against the team he beat with six scoreless
innings for his first major league victory on June 5. The
right-hander was bumped up in the rotation because of Scott
Kazmir's stiff neck, which forced the All-Star lefty to be held
back until Tuesday.
Mike Napoli, who leads rookies with 12 home runs, gave the
Angels a 3-2 edge in the fourth with a drive into the back of the
double-decker bullpen in left field. Before that, Garret Anderson
was ruled safe on a dribbler to third when Welke said that Tomas
Perez's throw pulled Travis Lee off the bag. Television replays
Welke made another disputed call in the fifth, calling Chone
Figgins safe on a bunt that bounced high off the plate. Catcher
Josh Paul's throw to first appeared to beat Figgins, who then stole
second and third before Cabrera drove him in with a sacrifice fly
for a 4-2 lead.
"It was disappointing," Lee said. "They were kind of tough
breaks for us."
The Angels announced that rookie RHP Jered Weaver (6-0,
1.12 ERA) will miss Monday night's scheduled start against
Cleveland because of biceps tendinitis. ... RHP Dustin Mosley,
acquired by the Angels from Cincinnati in December 2004, will be
promoted from Triple-A Salt Lake to make his major league debut in
Weaver's place. Another minor league pitcher, presumably LHP Joe
Saunders, is expected to be called up Wednesday to take injured RHP
Kelvim Escobar's turn in the rotation. ... Angels CF Darin Erstad,
limited to 27 games and 91 at-bats because of irritation in his
right ankle, met with team doctor Lewis Yocum. Erstad has taken
four cortisone shots for the ailment, the most recent on Monday.
... Devil Rays 3B Ty Wigginton did not play because of pain in his
lower back. He hurt himself in the eighth inning of Friday night's
4-0 loss when he charged a slow bouncer by Orlando Cabrera of the
Angels and threw him out.