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Anderson passes Downing to become hits leader

8/17/2003

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Garret Anderson has earned the admiration
of his Angels teammates for his talents -- and the ability to stay
healthy through this injury-plagued season.

Anderson, who has never been on the disabled list since making
his big league debut in 1994, became the franchise's career hits
leader Sunday and threw out the potential tying run at the plate as
Anaheim beat the Detroit Tigers 11-6 for its fifth straight
victory.

"He's Mr. Consistent," shortstop David Eckstein said. "He
comes to the park every day and gives you an honest effort day in
and day out, no matter if he has some kind of nagging hurt. He just
keeps playing the game the way it's supposed to be played."

Anderson was 3-for-5, including a two-run double during a
five-run seventh inning, increasing his career hits total to 1,591.
The All-Star MVP and Home Run Derby champ tied Brian Downing's club
mark for hits with an infield single Saturday night, then broke it
in the first inning with another infield hit to second base.

"It's something he's very proud of, and he should be. But I
think he would much rather us be in first place than to have that
record," teammate Jarrod Washburn said.

"I didn't see all the guys who have ever worn an Angels
uniform, but he's one of the best hitters in the game today. I
think he's going to add a lot of distance between him and the
second-place guy before it's all said and done. He's fun to watch
every day."

The self-effacing Anderson, who didn't stick around to talk
about his latest accomplishment, preserved a 4-3 lead for Ramon
Ortiz in the fifth when he charged a one-out single by Dmitri Young
and made a one-hop throw to the plate that just beat a sliding
Warren Morris.

Adam Kennedy was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer, Scott Spiezio
went 3-for-5 with a solo shot and Chone Figgins drove in three runs
with a pair of singles, helping Anaheim complete a three-game sweep
that extended its winning streak against Detroit to 11 games.

Anaheim has won five straight games for the first time since a
five-game stretch leading into the All-Star break. But between
those streaks, the injury-riddled Angels lost 21 of 27 to fall out
of playoff contention.

The Tigers have lost five straight overall. At 31-91, they have
one more win after 122 games than the 1962 New York Mets, who hold
the major league record with 120 losses.

That didn't matter to the defending World Series champions, who
stole six bases -- one short of the club record set on Aug. 25,
1981, against Boston. Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia can't muster
much sympathy for Alan Trammell's beleaguered team -- especially
with the season his own team is having.

"You never feel sorry for a club," Scioscia said. "I think we
all respect how hard they're playing and what they're going
through, and I'm sure it's difficult for them to look at the
standings and their record every day.

"But those games could have changed on a dime and we could have
lost them. So when you're at the major league level and you're
talking about winning and losing, that's baseball."

Ortiz (14-10) allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings,
striking out five and walking three.

Jeremy Bonderman (6-16) pitched five innings and allowed four
runs on eight hits. The rookie right-hander allowed more than three
earned runs for only the third time in his last 13 starts.

"He has a stiff neck and he was trying to get through it,"
Trammell said. "He was a little inconsistent, but I think it had
more to do with the Angels. They were kind of grinding on us for
three games. When you put pressure on us, it's not something we
respond to as well as I'd certainly like."

Brandon Inge, who has hit safely in a career-high 10 straight
games since being recalled from Triple-A Toledo, drove in three
runs for Detroit. Bobby Higginson, who homered in every game of the
series, opened the scoring in the first with his 12th homer and
seventh in 19 games.

Game notes
Downing, who played on all three of the Angels' division
championship teams, set the previous hits record on June 14, 1989,
with a single against Nolan Ryan at Texas -- eclipsing Jim Fregosi's
1,408 hits. It happened the same summer that Anderson won the Los
Angeles city championship with Kennedy High School in Granada
Hills, Calif. ... The Tigers have only one home run all season from
their center fielders. ... After the game, the Tigers optioned RHP
Chris Mears to Triple-A Toledo and will call up LHP Nate Robertson
from the Mudhens to start against Texas at Comerica Park on Monday.