Erick Aybar has record 5 runs as Angels avert sweep

BALTIMORE -- Erick Aybar enjoyed the finest day of his career at a time when the Los Angeles Angels needed him the most.

Aybar went 4-for-4, homered twice and tied a franchise record by scoring five runs, leading Los Angeles to an 11-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

Aybar's effort provided the Angels a welcome boost in their frantic pursuit of a postseason berth. Los Angeles, which began the day 4½ games in back of division-leading Texas, closed within four games behind Boston in the wild-card hunt.

"A very important win," Aybar said through an interpreter. "I felt great being able to contribute to what was really a team effort. Eleven runs wasn't just all my runs, so I feel good about that."

The victory enabled the Angels to avert a three-game sweep against the last-place Orioles, who won the first two by a collective 14-5 score.

"Everybody felt the need, not just me," Aybar said. "We lost two games in a row and we felt this was a game to win. We need to keep winning."

It was the first career multihomer game for Aybar, who hit a solo shot in the third inning and a two-run drive in the fourth. His four hits tied a career high, as did his four RBIs.

His five runs matched the club record set by Tim Salmon on April 12, 1998, at Cleveland.

"When he's on, he brings a very consistent approach whether he hits with no one on or he hits with someone in scoring position," manager Mike Scioscia said of Aybar. "He usually puts the ball in play. That's rule No. 1 when you're a little guy and not expected to hit home runs."

Vernon Wells also connected for the Angels, who next play a four-game series in Toronto, their final destination on the road this season. Baltimore travels to Boston for four games, beginning with a day-night doubleheader on Monday.

"It was nice to get this win," winning pitcher Jered Weaver said. "Hopefully, we can take this into Toronto and take three of four or four of four."

Pitching on three days' rest, Weaver (18-7) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. He is 12-3 since the beginning of June, and his 18 wins are two more than his previous career high.

"That's why he's one of the best pitchers in the game right now," said Baltimore catcher Craig Tatum, who went 0-for-3. "He showed he can come back off three days' rest and still be good. His ball moves, he locates, he keeps the ball down. He just didn't give us much to hit."

Vladimir Guerrero homered, tripled and had two RBIs for the Orioles, whose four-game winning streak ended. It was the 449th career home run for Guerrero, tied with Jeff Bagwell for 35th place on the career list.

Alfredo Simon (4-9) gave up six runs and eight hits, including three home runs, in five innings.

Aybar opened the game by drawing a four-pitch walk and scored on a double by Bobby Abreu. Later in the inning, Simon hit Mark Trumbo with a pitch, prompting home plate umpire Laz Diaz to issue a warning to both sides.

One night earlier, Ervin Santana hit Baltimore's Mark Reynolds in the helmet with a pitch. Reynolds, who did not play Sunday, said before the game that Santana purposely threw at him.

And Simon didn't deny doing likewise.

"We just got hit yesterday and I'm going to defend my players," he said. "We just got hit hard and that's what happens in the game."

Brad Bergesen plunked Jeff Mathis on the helmet in the sixth inning but was not ejected. Bergesen did, however, appeared to be obviously dismayed over the errant pitch.

Baltimore tied it in the bottom of the first when Nick Markakis hit a two-out single -- ending an 0-for-18 skid -- and the 36-year-old Guerrero followed with his first triple since July 2010.

Aybar put the Angels up 2-1 in the third with his ninth homer, and Wells hit No. 22 with a man on in the fourth. Three batters later, Aybar drove a pitch over the right-field wall.

Howie Kendrick doubled in two runs in the sixth off Bergesen, and Aybar hit an RBI double in a three-run eighth.

Game notes
Eight of the Angels' 15 hits were for extra bases. ... Jerome Williams (3-0) will start Monday for the Angels, who are 7-4 in their last 11 games in Toronto. ... Jeremy Guthrie (8-17) and Brian Matusz (1-7, 9.84 ERA) will start for Baltimore on Monday. ... It was Abreu's 30th double, the 12th time in his career he's reached that mark.

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