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Anderson (7 RBIs) Slams the Indians

Times Staff Writer

If the Beatles had written a song about the game between the Angels and Cleveland Indians on Thursday night at Edison Field, it might have gone something like this:

The Indians said goodbye, and Kevin Appier said hello.

When Garret Anderson swung, the Angels said, “Go, go, go!”

The Angels were sorry to see the Indians depart Anaheim on Thursday after Anderson drove in all seven runs, four on a grand slam, and Appier pitched five serviceable innings in his return from the disabled list to propel the Angels to a 7-1 victory and a three-game series sweep before 27,957.

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The Angels improved to 5-0 against Cleveland this season. Anderson’s RBI total tied a career high and his grand slam, which gave the Angels a 6-1 lead in the fifth inning, was the sixth of his career and the first of the season for the Angels.

“I just think he made a mistake,” Anderson said of the 2-and-0 fastball over the plate from Cleveland rookie Jason Davis that he blasted into the seats. “That’s a very rare opportunity to get a pitch like that in that situation.”

Anderson, who has 33 RBIs in 33 games this season, drove in David Eckstein with his seventh RBI of the night in the sixth with a double off the scoreboard in right-center.

“You don’t put it together any better than Garret did tonight,” Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said. “With guys on base, he was locked in.”

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Appier wasn’t nearly as impressive, but he got the job done. Making his first appearance in 17 days because of a strained muscle in his right forearm, Appier (2-2) picked up the victory by giving up only one run and two hits despite giving up a season-high six walks.

Relievers Francisco Rodriguez, Mickey Callaway and Ben Weber gave up only one more hit in shutting out the Indians over the final four innings as the Angels (16-17) moved back to within one victory of the .500 mark.

Despite playing well below expectations, the Angels are only 4 1/2 games behind Seattle and Oakland, tied atop the American League West standings.

Anderson drove in the Angels’ first two runs Thursday -- both scored by Adam Kennedy -- on a single to right-center in the first and a groundout in the third. The Angels squandered a chance for a big inning in the first when Scott Spiezio popped up to shallow left with the bases loaded and two out.

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Appier got off to a shaky start, but he survived as the Indians stranded five runners over the first three innings. Appier pitched out of a two-on, no-out jam in the first but couldn’t escape the same situation in the second when John McDonald hit a run-scoring single to shallow center to tie the score at 1-1. Cleveland would have added at least another run had Kennedy not made a spectacular play diving to stop a Matt Lawton grounder to end the inning.

In the third, the Indians had two on with one out after Appier issued walks to Milton Bradley and Ellis Burks, bringing Scioscia to the mound. But Appier knocked down Travis Hafner’s line drive with his glove and threw to first for the second out, then struck out Josh Bard to end the threat.

Appier retired the side in order in the fourth before struggling with his command again in the fifth, giving up consecutive walks with two out. Scott Schoeneweis and Rodriguez frantically started warming up in the bullpen before Appier got Hafner to fly out to left to avert any damage.

“His stuff picked up as the game went along,” Scioscia said of Appier. “I don’t think he was very sharp tonight, but to Kevin’s credit he got it done.”

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Said Appier: “The offense picked me up huge. It’s kind of a cheap win, but I’ll take it.”


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