ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- John Lackey got enough run support to win
a game, for a change -- although he had to wait for it.
Mike Napoli's two-run double highlighted a five-run rally in the
eighth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels pulled out an improbable
5-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night in the opener
of the first interleague series between the teams since 2001.
The two-time defending AL West champions came in 3-33 when
trailing after seven innings. They had scored more than four runs
in only three of Lackey's previous 12 starts.
"I'll take it anytime it happens, definitely," Lackey said.
"I'll take as many runs as I can get. It was a big win for us
because we haven't had many come-from-behind wins this season. So
it was more of a lift for the whole team, more than just a win for
Lackey (5-5) allowed three runs and four hits over eight
innings, striking out four and walking two. The right-hander was
1-5 in his previous 10 starts despite a 3.41 ERA during that
stretch. But he wouldn't let the lack of run support get to him.
"You've got to be a professional about it," the five-year
veteran said. "You've got to go about your business, make pitches,
work hard and try to give the team a chance to win every time you
go out there."
Rockies starter Jason Jennings, who hadn't given up an earned
run in his previous two starts, was charged with two runs and four
hits in seven-plus innings and struck out five in his first career
appearance against the Angels. The right-hander departed with a 3-0
lead after giving up a single to Maicer Izturis and walking Adam
Kennedy in the eighth.
"I felt like I could have stayed in, but I understood why I
came out," Jennings said. "I wasn't tiring, but I was getting
close too 100 pitches and I was about to face the top of the lineup
for the fourth time. Mesa's our eighth-inning guy, so I wasn't
shocked that I came out."
Chone Figgins greeted Jose Mesa (0-2) with an RBI single,
Orlando Cabrera followed with a broken-bat single to left that
loaded the bases, and Kennedy scored on Vladimir Guerrero's
groundout. Napoli chased Mesa with the hit to right-center that
delivered the tying and go-ahead runs.
"I was just looking for something up that I could drive,"
Napoli said. "I was trying to do anything I could to keep it off
the ground and stay out of a double play. But it wasn't just my
hit. It was a team thing. Everyone battled to get on base and put
us in a situation where we could win the game."
Juan Rivera capped the rally with an RBI single off Ramon
The Angels didn't get their first hit until Rivera doubled into
the left field corner with one out in the fifth. Kendry Morales,
who had walked, had to stop at third because a fan interfered with
Rivera's hit, and Jennings escaped the jam when Izturis popped out
and Kennedy struck out.
"I threw only two bad pitches in the first inning, so I wasn't
that concerned about it," Lackey said.
The Rockies left the bases loaded in the second when Jamey
Carroll grounded into a double play, but they increased the margin
to 3-0 in the sixth with a two-out RBI single by Brad Hawpe.
"Lackey hit his spots and stayed out of the middle of the
plate," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "His cut fastball was
very effective and he threw the slider off of that and some slow
breaking balls. Besides Helton and Hawpe, it was tough going for a
lot of our guys."
Cabrera's hit extended his club-record streak to 54 consecutive
games getting on base without the benefit of a fielder's choice.
Piedra was 1-for-3 in his second career appearance as a DH.
He is 2-for-17 since his recall from the minors on June 9, with all
of his other at-bats coming as a pinch hitter. His only other hit
was a home run against the Dodgers. ... Hurdle said he remembered
having a few at-bats himself as a DH during his six seasons with
Kansas City, "but I never DH-ed in the minor leagues with the
Mets. I told (manager) Davey Johnson I didn't think that DH-ing for
a National League club was a good career move." ... Angels CF
Darin Erstad, who is on the DL for the second time this season
because of irritation in his right ankle, went back to his alma
mater, the University of Nebraska, to see a doctor about his
condition. ... Guerrero, who is in an 11-for-74 skid that has
dropped his average from .332 to .286, is the top vote-getter in
fan balloting for next month's All-Star game. Guerrero, the
league's MVP two years ago, batted over .300 every season from 1997
through last year.
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