When Garret Anderson did something no Angel had done in the club’s 46 years of existence, the crowd at Angel Stadium forced him to do something he had never done in his 13 major-league seasons: make a curtain call.
Anderson drove in an Angels-record 10 runs in an 18-9 victory over the New York Yankees on Tuesday night, the last four on a bases-loaded home run that cleared the right-field wall.
The paid crowd of 44,264 fans rose as Anderson rounded the bases and remained standing when he descended into the dugout, prompting him to come back out and tip his cap. The home run was the second of the game for Anderson, who finished the game four for six with two doubles and three runs.
“You have to earn” curtain calls, Anderson said. “I guess I haven’t earned them before.”
Asked about how many more curtain calls he had left in his career, Anderson replied, “Probably not another one. It took 13 years for me to get that one. I can’t see myself playing until 26 years.”
Anderson fell one run batted in short of the American League record of 11 set by Tony Lazzeri of the Yankees on May 24, 1936. The major league record of 12, first set by Jim Bottomley of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1924, was tied by Mark Whiten of St. Louis in 1993.
Twice, Anderson drove in the man whose club record he broke, Vladimir Guerrero, who set the old mark of nine on June 2, 2004, in a game against Boston.
Anderson became only the sixth major league player since 1969 to drive in 10 or more runs in a single game. The last player to do so was Alex Rodriguez, who matched Anderson’s home run total for the game.
Anderson had a shot at the AL record when he came up for his final at-bat in the eighth inning, which the fans who remained in the park stood to watch. But with men on the corners, Anderson grounded out to second.
Anderson had the game of his life in the unlikeliest of times.
The 35-year-old left fielder entered the game with only six home runs and 40 RBIs in 75 games this season.
Twenty-five of those had come after the All-Star break, but Anderson entered Tuesday’s game batting .227 in August.
His average was a mere .273, the lowest in his career. A career .297 hitter entering the season, he had never hit below .280.
But, Anderson said, “I’ve been swinging the bat well for a while now and had nothing to show for it.”
The claim was supported by Gary Matthews Jr., who was in the on-deck circle for Anderson’s first five at-bats.
“He hasn’t had a whole lot of luck,” Matthews said. “Garret’s always poised, so he looked the way he always does.”
Anderson’s first six RBIs came in the first three innings.
The first two came in the first, when he doubled to right to score Chone Figgins and Orlando Cabrera to put the Angels ahead, 2-0.
Anderson again doubled to right in the second, driving in Guerrero from second. Anderson later scored himself on a single by Matthews, sliding home and taking out Yankees catcher Jose Molina in the process.
Jeff Mathis and Chone Figgins were on base in the third when Anderson went deep for the first time, taking reliever Edwar Ramirez to right.
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Players who have had 10 or more runs batted in in a game:
*--* Name Team Date RBIs Jim Bottomley St. Louis (NL) Sept. 24, 1924 12 Mark Whiten St. Louis (NL) Sept. 7, 1993 12 Wilbert Robinson Baltimore (NL) June 10, 1892 11 Tony Lazzeri New York (AL) May 24, 1936 11 Phil Weintraub New York (NL) April 30, 1944 11 Rudy York Boston (AL) July 27, 1946 10 Walker Cooper Cincinnati July 6, 1949 10 Norm Zauchin Boston (AL) May 27, 1955 10 Reggie Jackson Oakland June 14, 1969 10 Fred Lynn Boston (AL) June 18, 1975 10 Nomar Garciaparra Boston (AL) May 10, 1999 10 Alex Rodriguez New York (AL) April 26, 2005 10 Garret Anderson Angels Aug. 21, 2007 10 *--*