for this game

Napoli, six-run inning fuel Angels past Nationals

Jun 25, 2008 - 4:05 AM By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Mike Napoli made an adjustment in the batting cage and busted out of a pronounced slump with a two-run homer and an RBI double to lead the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to their fifth consecutive victory with an 8-3 triumph over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.

Napoli was mired in a 2-for-39 slump prior to Tuesday's heroics.

"It was good to see Nap come out of it a little bit," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's made some adjustments. He came out with (batting coach) Mickey (Hatcher) and he's trying to get his hands up a little more in a neutral position and then getting him down into a loaded position.

"His adjustment is going to give him a little cleaner load and hopefully a shorter path to the ball. The guy's as strong as anybody in the game. You saw that ball he hit to right field, so it was good to see Nap take it into a game."

Napoli was relieved to end his recent frustration.

"Actually started it in BP yesterday," Napoli said. "We had a little meeting and talked about it - told them how I felt, and they told me how they felt, and we came up with a plan.

"It's a real good sign for me and a good feeling for me to know I'm staying on balls. ... I'll be in the cage tomorrow doing the same thing and try to keep it going."

The Angels, who have won 10 of their last 11 games on the road, improved to 14-3 in their last 17 away from Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Eleven of their next 17 games are on the road.

The Nationals have lost seven of their last eight games by a cumulative score of 54-21.

The Angels sent 10 batters to the plate and scored six runs on five hits in the first inning off Nationals righthander Shawn Hill (1-5), who was hurt by a throwing error by left fielder Paul Lo Duca and a fielding error by first baseman Dmitri Young.

Garret Anderson, Vladimir Guerrero, Howie Kendrick, Napoli and righthander Jon Garland each had an RBI during the first inning.

"Early in the game, we got into some good hitting counts, and it helped us," Scioscia said. "They cracked the door open a little bit for us defensively, and we were able to take advantage."

Torri Hunter, who had three hits, agreed with his manager.

"I haven't seen us jumping on guys early and getting runs like that early in maybe a month," Hunter said. "It's been a while since we've done that. It feels good to go out there and jump on it early, that's what any team wants to do. Get those runs a put a little pressure on them.

"You've got to feed off errors. Anytime a team makes an error, you've got to take advantage of it. We try to go out there and take advantage of any mistakes like hyenas."

Righthander Jon Garland (7-4) allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings of work. He struck out four and walked one.

"I think the early runs helped Jon," Scioscia said. "In fact, he needed that little leeway early. He wasn't really into his game early in his rhythm. He made adjustments and got his tempo better and a little more athletic delivery. ... Fortunately for us, he got into his rhythm and finished very strong and gave us seven good innings."

Guerrero extended his hitting streak to 15 games with an RBI single to right before leaving the contest with flu-like symptoms after striking out in the second inning.

"Vlad was not feeling good from the beginning," Scioscia said. "You could see pre-game he was a little sluggish. Either ate something that wasn't quite right - he was pretty sick after that second inning. We'll see how he feels. I can't tell you right now."

With a 3-2 count on Guerrero in the second inning, Lo Duca also left the game with lightheadedness and was taken to Sybley Memorial Hospital for observation.

"He was getting dizzy out there, very lightheaded," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "They took him to a doctor and ran some tests on him - CT scan, blood test - and he seems to be OK. He was released. They gave him a couple IVs and he was on his way."

Wily Mo Pena, who replaced Lo Duca, hit a solo homer, his second of the season. Elijah Dukes deposited Garland's first pitch of the fourth inning into the seats in left for his third home run.

Pinch hitter Kory Kasto's RBI single to left scored Ronnie Belliard, who drew a leadoff walk, for Washington's other run in the fifth.

Hill allowed eight runs - six earned - on eight hits in three innings of work. He struck out two, walked one and committed a balk.

"Obviously this is not the Shawn Hill we wanted to see out there," Acta said. "He had a rough time, and I think everybody here knows he's pitching through pain. Over the last couple outings, we haven't seen the Shawn Hill we wanted to see out there."

Hill, who has been bothered all season by soreness in his forearm and elbow, will soon visit the Mayo Clinic and might soon be placed on the disabled list, Acta said.

"I'm not helping the team, I'm not helping myself," Hill said. "I'm hurting the bullpen. I'm putting Manny in a bad spot. I know it's not just because I'm making poor pitches. I'm just not right right now."








  • ML
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    LA ANGELS 6 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 11 0
    WASHINGTON 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 3 6 4 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: LAA - JON GARLAND, JOSE ARREDONDO (8TH) AND MIKE NAPOLI
    WAS - SHAWN HILL, STEVEN SHELL (4TH), JESUS COLOME
    (6TH), JOEL HANRAHAN (8TH), CHARLIE MANNING (9TH) AND JES

    Jun 24 9:46 PM


  • ML
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY KORY CASTO SCORED RONNIE BELLIARD.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K CASTO ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 8
    WASHINGTON 3 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: C GUZMAN (.310, 0-FOR-2)

    Angels 8, Nationals 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsJun 24 8:41 PM


  • ML
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ELIJAH DUKES (3) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    4TH OFF JON GARLAND.
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 8, WASHINGTON 2
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: L MILLEDGE (.238, 0-FOR-1)

    Angels 8, Nationals 2  Bot 4, 0 OutsJun 24 8:17 PM


  • ML
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY WILY MO PENA (2) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    3RD OFF JON GARLAND.
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 8, WASHINGTON 1
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: W HARRIS (.176, 4 HR, 9 RBI)

    Angels 8, Nationals 1  Bot 3, 0 OutsJun 24 8:03 PM


  • ML
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY MIKE NAPOLI (11) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 3RD OFF SHAWN HILL SCORED HOWIE KENDRICK.
    CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 8, WASHINGTON 0
    DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: J GARLAND (.000, 0-FOR-1, RBI)

    Angels 8, Nationals 0  Top 3, 0 OutsJun 24 7:59 PM


  • ML
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    LA ANGELS 6 6 5 0
    WASHINGTON 0 0 2 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: LAA - JON GARLAND
    WAS - SHAWN HILL

    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: C GUZMAN (.312, 5 HR, 26 RBI)
    E DUKES (.256, 2 HR, 14 RBI)
    L MILLEDGE (.239, 6 HR, 28 RBI)

    Angels 6, Nationals 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsJun 24 7:26 PM