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Angels turn walk into winning run

Angels turn walk into winning run
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Walking the leadoff batter is the cardinal sin of relief pitching, and Detroit Tigers reliever Brandon Lyon committed it in the eighth inning.

Torii Hunter got the free pass, took second by tagging on a deep outfield fly, and scored on a two-out double by Gary Matthews Jr. It was the first extra-base hit of the season for Matthews, who vigorously slapped his hands twice upon reaching second.

That was the difference for the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night in a 4-3 win before 41,627 fans and the rally monkey on the scoreboard at Angel Stadium.

Carlos Guillen got a leadoff single in the ninth off new Angels closer Brian Fuentes, but pinch runner Josh Anderson got picked off first in an attempt to steal second.

Gerald Laird was hit by a pitch and Brandon Inge walked before Ramon Santiago took a called third strike to end the game.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he would have used home-run threat Marcus Thames to pinch hit after Guillen singled, but Thames pulled a muscle in his rib cage during early batting practice and was unavailable.

Right-handed Adam Everett pinch hit for left-handed designated hitter Jeff Larish against the southpaw Fuentes. He struck out for the second out.

"I didn't want to let them know Thames wasn't available," Leyland said. "He'd have definitely pinch hit for Larish. But he felt something pop in batting practice."

The Tigers led or were tied until the bottom of the eighth.

Curtis Granderson hit solo home runs leading off the first and third innings. It was his 18th homer leading off a game, and second two-homer game. The other was Sept. 29, 2006, against the Kansas City Royals.

Starting pitcher Armando Galarraga never trailed in the game despite struggling for the first time this season.

There were two ways that the Tigers can look at Galarraga's start:

On the plus side, he was able to exit after five innings with the score tied 3-3 because he pitched very well with runners on base.

But he consistently clogged the bases, allowing seven hits and three walks. Two runners per inning can be a recipe for disaster, but Galarraga was able to wiggle out of jams with minimal or no damage.

He brought a 2-0 record and 0.68 ERA into the game and had struck out 13 and walked just three in 13 innings.

However, the sinker-slider combination that frustrated batters in his first two starts didn't work for him until his pitch count was elevated well beyond the norm. Galarraga did not strike out anybody until striking out the final four batters he faced before departing after throwing 110 pitches.

"Galarraga was out of sync early," Leyland said.

Inge provided some spectacular defensive support at third base for Galarraga. With two on and two out in the first, Inge speared a liner by Hunter to end the threat.

In the second inning, Inge made a spectacular play with the bases loaded. He got to a ball as it reached the line, and was able to get enough on an accurate throw for a force out at the plate.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 23, 2009

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