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ANGELS 4, DETROIT 3


ANGELS 4, DETROIT 3
There was no sign of panic around the Angels clubhouse Tuesday afternoon.

Sure, pitchers are falling faster than the mortgage rate, the offense remains, well, pretty inoffensive and the Angels are looking up at every other team in the American League.

But that's no reason to panic.

"It's early," second baseman Howie Kendrick said.

"It's a little premature," agreed Manager Mike Scioscia before his team opened its second homestand of the season. "We've played 12 games. And I think it's going to take a little longer for these guys to see what direction they're going to go."

Gary Matthews Jr. may have given a hint, though, when he doubled off the center field wall with two outs in the eighth inning, driving in Torii Hunter from second base and lifting the Angels to a 4-3 win over the Detroit Tigers.

The Angels , after all, started the new homestand having lost eight of their first 12 games. The last time they started that slowly they won their 13th game, then went on to win the 2002 World Series.

It's probably a little premature to predict that will happen again this season. But then again, Scioscia was around the first time, so he knows anything can happen.

After all, look what happened Tuesday: the Angels turned a tied game over to Baseball's worst bullpen and Jose Arredondo came back with the team's first relief win and closer Brian Fuentes notched his fourth save, but not before a hit batter and a walk put the tying run in scoring position.

So maybe things are turning around

Scioscia wasn't around to see any of that, though, having been ejected by plate umpire Tim Timmons in the sixth inning for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout.

It was the second ejection in as many home games for Scioscia, who was also tossed in the second inning of the Easter Sunday game with Boston, another game the Angels rallied to win.

Scioscia did see how this game started, with Curtis Granderson hitting the third pitch over the wall in center field. Granderson started the third inning with another home run, also on a 1-and-1 pitch, to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead.

Angel starter Jered Weaver settled down shortly after that, retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced before leaving after seven innings and 99 pitches, nearly three-quarters of which he threw for strikes.

For that he deserved a better fate than a no-decision, which is what he was stuck with after leaving with the score tied, 3-3.

Of course it could have been worse since the Angels had to push across single runs in the third and fifth, the final score coming on Hunter's fifth home run, just to get Weaver even.

It wasn't for a lack of trying, though, since the Angels loaded the bases with one out in the second and third innings but managed to score only one run each time.

But when they needed to manufacture a run, they did so with Hunter drawing a walk to lead off the eighth. He smartly moved to second base when Kendry Morales' fly ball drove left fielder Carlos Guillen into the corner, leaving Hunter in position to score one out later on Matthews' first extra-base hit this season.

"It goes without saying it's been difficult," Scioscia said of the Angels' early struggles. "But we're going to play Baseball. We have a good team.

"And we intend to play better and that's what we're going to focus on."

After all, it worked in 2002.

--

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

--

Angels TONIGHT

VS. DETROIT

Time: 7.

Where: Angel Stadium.

On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 830, 1330.

Probable pitchers: Joe Saunders vs. Justin Verlander.

Update: Which Joe Saunders will show up for the Angels tonight? The staff ace who gave up only six hits and a run in 13 2/3 innings to beat Oakland and Seattle or the guy who surrendered two home runs in a loss to Boston? Saunders is 0-1 with a 4.50 earned-run average all-time against Detroit. In his last outing, Verlander was perfect through four innings against Seattle, striking out seven, before giving up five runs in the fifth inning and ended up losing. Verlander hasn't beaten the Angels in three tries.

-- Kevin Baxter


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 22, 2009

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