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Saunders, Rivera help Angels top Athletics

Jul 3, 2008 - 4:41 AM ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- Joe Saunders continued his stellar season.

Saunders pitched 6 1/3 solid innings and Juan Rivera hit a key two-run homer as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim posted a 7-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.

Erick Aybar hit a solo homer and closer Francisco Rodriguez tied a major league record by notching his 34th save for Anaheim, which took the rubber match of the three-game set against Oakland.

"This was a big series for us, and we wanted to win this series," Rodriguez said. "I just want to keep doing my job and stay healthy the rest of the year."

The Athletics have scored just 14 runs in losing four of their last five games.

"We're not done, but it would have been nice to win the last two games," Oakland second baseman Mark Ellis said. "We had our opportunities and had our chances but just didn't get it done."

Saunders (12-4), who became the first American Leaguer to record 12 wins, tied Arizona's Brandon Webb for most victories in the majors. The lefthander, who allowed four runs, six hits and two walks while striking out five, improved to 5-0 in five starts against AL West Division opponents.

"Things are going well for me," Saunders said. "I just try to go and win every time and do whatever I need to do to get a win. I had to battle today and make good pitches to get out of tough spots."

Rookie Jose Arredondo and Scot Shields combined to hurl 1 1/3 innings of relief before manager Mike Scioscia turned over the game to Rodriguez in the ninth.

"We played our type of baseball game today and turned the ball over to the bullpen to shut the door," Scioscia said.

A two-time All-Star, Rodriguez surrendered a leadoff single by rookie Carlos Gonzalez before retiring the next three batters to collect his 34th save of the season. It ties the record for most saves before the All-Star break set in 2003 by Atlanta's John Smoltz.

"I'm not paying attention to any records, I'm just trying to help the team win games," Rodriguez said.

The Angels trailed for the first 5 1/2 innings before a three-run burst in the sixth put them ahead for good.

"The guys used there sticks today and it was just a fun game to be a part of," Saunders said.

After Casey Kotchman drilled a two-out RBI double to knot the game at 3-3, Rivera launched a 2-1 pitch from Oakland reliever Keith Foulke (0-3) over the wall in left field to give Anaheim a two-run lead. It was Rivera's first homer of 2008, who hit just two in 14 games last season after belting a career-high 23 in 2006.

"I knew I was going to get something off-speed because Foulke throws a lot of off-speed stuff," Rivera said through an interpreter. "The pitch hung up there and I just put a good swing on it. I was just waiting for my opportunity."

After Oakland cut the deficit to 5-4 in the top of the seventh, Aybar belted a shot off Santiago Casilla in the bottom half to up the lead back to two.

"We got a big run from Aybar and it was much-needed at that point in the game," Scioscia said.

Reggie Willits added a sacrifice fly in the eighth to finish the scoring.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 0 0 0 1 0 2 1 0 0 4 8 0
    LA ANGELS 1 1 0 0 0 3 1 1 x 7 8 2 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: OAK - DANA EVELAND, KEITH FOULKE (6TH), SANTIAGO CASILLA (7TH), CHAD
    GAUDIN (8TH) AND ROB BOWEN
    LAA - JOE SAUNDERS, JOSE ARREDONDO (7TH), SCOT SHIELDS
    (8TH), FRANC

    Jul 2 6:37 PM


  • AL
    AT LA ANGELS - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY REGGIE WILLITS SCORED HOWIE KENDRICK.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 4
    LA ANGELS 7 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: M NAPOLI (.210, 0-FOR-1, 2 BB)

    Athletics 4, Angels 7  Bot 8, 0 OutsJul 2 6:22 PM


  • AL
    AT LA ANGELS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ERICK AYBAR (3) TO CENTER WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF SANTIAGO CASILLA.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 4, LA ANGELS 6
    DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: V GUERRERO (.283, 1-FOR-3)

    Athletics 4, Angels 6  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 2 6:05 PM
  • 0
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 35 roots

    Athletics 4, Angels 6  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 2 6:05 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Athletics 4, Angels 5  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 2 5:55 PM


  • AL
    AT LA ANGELS - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY ROB BOWEN SCORED CARLOS GONZALEZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R BOWEN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 4
    LA ANGELS 5 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: D MURPHY (.182, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Athletics 4, Angels 5  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 2 5:51 PM


  • AL
    AT LA ANGELS - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JUAN RIVERA (1) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF KEITH FOULKE SCORED CASEY KOTCHMAN.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3, LA ANGELS 5
    DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: M NAPOLI (.210, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Athletics 3, Angels 5  Bot 6, 0 OutsJul 2 5:34 PM


  • AL
    AT LA ANGELS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY CASEY KOTCHMAN SCORED TORII HUNTER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C KOTCHMAN ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    LA ANGELS 3 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: J RIVERA (.172, 0-FOR-2, RBI)

    Athletics 3, Angels 3  Bot 6, 0 OutsJul 2 5:32 PM


  • AL
    AT LA ANGELS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARK ELLIS SCORED DONNIE MURPHY AND RAJAI DAVIS.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M ELLIS ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    LA ANGELS 2 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: B CROSBY (.258, 1-FOR-2)

    Athletics 3, Angels 2  Top 6, 0 OutsJul 2 5:14 PM


  • AL
    AT LA ANGELS - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY GARY MATTHEWS ALLOWED BOBBY CROSBY TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 1
    LA ANGELS 2 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: J CUST (.234, 0-FOR-1)

    Athletics 1, Angels 2  Top 4, 0 OutsJul 2 4:38 PM


  • AL
    AT LA ANGELS - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY JUAN RIVERA SCORED HOWIE KENDRICK.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J RIVERA ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0
    LA ANGELS 2 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: M NAPOLI (.212, 12 HR, 29 RBI)

    Athletics 0, Angels 2  Bot 2, 0 OutsJul 2 4:12 PM


  • AL
    AT LA ANGELS - SCORING UPDATE
    WILD PITCH BY DANA EVELAND ALLOWED ERICK AYBAR TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, V GUERRERO ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0
    LA ANGELS 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: T HUNTER (.272, 0-FOR-0)

    Athletics 0, Angels 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 2 3:58 PM