Angels nip Athletics as AL West heats up

Posted: Friday, July 26, 2002

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Garret Anderson hit a two-out single in the eighth inning to drive in the go-ahead run Thursday as the Anaheim Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 5-4.

David Eckstein singled with one out for his fourth hit of the game, equaling a career high. Darin Erstad forced Eckstein and took second on a wild pitch before Jim Mecir (3-3) walked Tim Salmon.

Oakland closer Billy Koch relieved and Anderson blooped a 1-0 pitch to left field for his third hit of the game to drive in Erstad.

Scot Shields (3-1) pitched 2 2-3 scoreless innings to earn the victory and Ben Weber worked the ninth for his fifth save in seven chances.

The Angels, contending with Oakland and Seattle in the AL West, have played their last eight games against the A's and Mariners, winning six. They open a three-game series in Seattle on Friday night.

Tigers 5, Royals 2

DETROIT -- Robert Fick hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the sixth inning and added a two-run homer as the Detroit Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals for a three-game sweep.

Fick, the Tigers' representative in the All-Star game, also made a key defensive play in right field to preserve the Tigers' edge.

With the Royals trailing 3-2 in the eighth, Carlos Beltran tripled with one out, Joe Randa walked and Raul Ibanez hit a line drive that Fick caught. But before Beltran could tag up and score, Fick doubled Randa off first base.

Fick hit his 12th homer in the bottom of the eighth off Scott Mullen. Damion Easley and Randall Simon homered in the opening inning for the Tigers.

Red Sox 6, Devil Rays 0

BOSTON -- Pedro Martinez struck out 11 and allowed two hits in eight innings, and Boston beat Tampa Bay .

Trot Nixon hit his 15th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the first, and Manny Ramirez and Jason Varitek hit back-to-back homers off Luis De Los Santos (0-2) in the third.

Martinez (13-2) is 5-0 in his last seven starts. In his last five, his ERA is 0.79 with 50 strikeouts, eight walks, 20 hits and three earned runs in 34 1-3 innings.

Mariners 7, Rangers 2

SEATTLE -- Ichiro Suzuki hit his second homer in three games and Seattle starter John Halama won again as the Mariners beat Texas.

Rafael Palmeiro hit his 26th homer of the season -- 17 straight solo shots --for the last-place Rangers, who lost their sixth consecutive series. It was Palmeiro's 473rd career home run, 22nd all-time.

Halama (5-3), improved to 4-0 in six starts as the second left-hander in Seattle's rotation behind Jamie Moyer. In five innings, he allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks, with no strikeouts. Halama has spent most of the season in Seattle's bullpen.

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