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Vlad, Eckstein power Angels win
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06/03/2004  1:12 AM ET 
Vlad, Eckstein power Angels win

Vladimir Guerrero watches his two-run homer in the first inning Wednesday. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM -- Vladimir Guerrero got it done, David Eckstein got it done, and for the second night in a row, the Angels got it done.

Guerrero hit two home runs and drove in a career-high nine runs, setting a new Angels record, and Eckstein rapped out a career-high five hits, leading the Angels to a 10-7 come-from-behind victory Wednesday night over the Boston Red Sox before a sellout crowd of 43,205 in Angel Stadium.

Guerrero hit a two-run homer off Boston starter Pedro Martinez in the first inning, drove in two with a double in the third and punched another across with a sacrifice fly in the fourth before his most dramatic moment in the sixth.

With the Angels trailing, 7-5, Guerrero came up to the plate with runners on first and second and was greeted by Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin.

Guerrero greeted Timlin with a low laser to the gap in left-center field that kept carrying until it disappeared over the wall for his second homer of the game, his career-high eighth RBI in a game, and his 14th long ball of the season, giving the Angels an 8-7 lead they wouldn't relinquish.

After the fireworks went off in the rockpile beyond center field and the fans lingered in a standing ovation, Guerrero popped out of the dugout and tipped his helmet to his fans. It was his first curtain call as an Angel.

He then added an RBI single in the seventh and gave another toast to the crowd when he went out to right field in the eighth.

The Major League record for most RBIs in a nine-inning game is 12, shared by a pair of Cardinals -- Jim Bottomley (Sept. 16, 1924 vs. the Brooklyn Robins) and Mark Whiten (Sept. 7, 1993 vs. the Cincinnati Reds). The American League record is 11, set by the Yankees' Tony Lazzeri on May 24, 1936 vs. the Philadelphia Athletics.

Guerrero, who signed a five-year, $70 million in the offseason, continues to amaze everyone around him, but after the game, he was as stoic as usual when answering questions.

When asked if the pitches looked slow or if the ball looked bigger to him on his career night, Guerrero cracked a smile and shook his head.

"It looked the same," Guerrero said. "I was just lucky tonight."

His manager and teammates didn't quite agree.

"I've never seen a night like that," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Every time he was up there, he was on every pitch. He was hitting all pitches, in different locations, off different pitchers, and in the clutch. He got us back on top almost every time."

Chone Figgins, who went 3-for-4 and scored twice hitting in front of Guerrero, said he has fun knowing something's going to happen when he gets on base.

"It's crazy to watch him hit," Figgins said. "I've watched a lot of baseball and seen what he's done in Montreal, but when you're actually a part of it, it's even more amazing."

Meanwhile, Eckstein was feeling the good vibes, too.

The diminutive leadoff man entered Wednesday's game with a respectable .279 batting average and a career-high 16-game hitting streak, which he added to immediately, singling off Martinez to left field in the first inning.

He added singles in the third, fourth and sixth innings before doubling to the gap in right-center in the seventh to complete the first five-hit game of his career and turn that .279 into a .298 pretty quickly.

   David Eckstein  /   SS
Born: 01/20/75
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 165 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

Eckstein went 3-for-5 in Tuesday night's game, finishing with a single and a double, which means he's on a seven-straight-hit streak and has eight hits in his last 10 at-bats.

Still, Eckstein preferred to talk about Guerrero.

"It was Vladdy's night," Eckstein said. "He was just awesome. He goes up there and makes it look easy. It's fun to come to the ballpark."

Even though they didn't hang a loss on him, the Angels did serious damage to Martinez, who had owned them previously.

The Angels -- particularly rookie Casey Kotchman -- did a good job of tiring him out early, with Kotchman putting up a 15-pitch at-bat that included 11 straight two-strike foul balls before striking out. He was Martinez's 2,500th career strikeout victim.

But Martinez's sterling 8-1 career record and 1.42 lifetime ERA against the Angels was nicked up Wednesday when the right-hander left after five innings, having given up seven runs on 11 hits.

Angels starter Jarrod Washburn wasn't even that effective.

He departed after 3 1/3 innings, having given up seven runs on nine hits, the majority of the scoring coming in the fourth, when David Ortiz's RBI double capped a string of six straight hits that produced five runs.

It didn't matter, though.

Ramon Ortiz outdid his Dominican countryman and idol Martinez by providing a 2 2/3-inning tourniquet of scoreless relief and Scot Shields stretched his personal scoreless streak to 17 innings with goose eggs in the seventh and eighth.

Ortiz entered the game in the fourth with runners on first and second and one out and got Kevin Millar to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

"The key thing in this game was Ramon Ortiz," Eckstein said. "He came in the game and gave us a chance."

In an interesting development with a three-run lead in the ninth, Angels manager Mike Scioscia opted for setup man Francisco Rodriguez over closer Troy Percival in a save situation.

It was revealed after the game that Percival has been experiencing inflammation in his right elbow and had an MRI. Percival said after the game that it was a precautionary move and he'll be ready to pitch Thursday.

Rodriguez looked good in the role, however.

He walked the first hitter, Mark Bellhorn, but retired the next three batters -- two by strikeout -- for his second save of the season.

The Angels swept the two-game series from the Sox, improved to 32-20 on the season and kept their 2 1/2-game lead over the Texas Rangers atop the American League West.

"If you told me Jarrod Washburn and Pedro Martinez were going to hook up and the score was going to be what it was today, I'd say you're crazy," Scioscia said.

"It was an incredible game."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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