Guerrero's big bat comes alive
Slugger smacks three-run homer to help top White Sox
ANAHEIM -- There's no secret, no magic formula, no solution to be found in any textbook. For a hitter like Vladimir Guerrero, the only way to escape a slump is to simply swing his way out of it.
He will flourish or fail with aggressive cuts. Guerrero found a soft fastball served middle-in from Chicago left-hander Mark Buehrle much to his liking, belting his first home run in 15 games as part of his four-RBI performance, shocking the Angels offense back to life in a 10-7 victory over the White Sox before 38,723 on Monday at Angel Stadium.
Guerrero had not hit a home run since April 25 at Detroit, which represented his only home run in his previous 27 games. His four RBIs matched his entire production over his previous 23 games, a span that included the first five-game hitless streak of his career.
The Angels scored 10 runs in a game for the first time in almost a month and created enough support for rookie right-hander Nick Adenhart to earn his his first Major League win. After the game, the Angels optioned him to Triple-A Salt Lake and recalled reliever Jose Arredondo.
The Angels (23-17) fed off Guerrero's production, scoring four runs in the fifth and four runs in the sixth to provide enough support for Adenhart, who was returned to Triple-A because the Angels will activate starter John Lackey Wednesday and can use the bullpen depth Arredondo provides.
Monday, it was the jolt Guerrero provided that sustained the Angels. His RBIs were a season high and the Angels scored 10 runs for the first time since April 12 at Seattle. For a team wracked by injuries, Guerrero swinging his way out of a slump is probably better news than anything else.
"Once he gets out of it, it's over," Angels center fielder Torii Hunter said. "He's not the guy you overanalyze. He's not the guy who's going to be Ted Williams. Everybody has a different style of hitting, but Vladdy is Vladdy and nobody can do what Vladdy does. I don't know anybody in the game who can hit like him. Nobody."
Guerrero's three-run home run gave the Angels a 5-4 lead and provided the difference for Adenhart, whose third start was his longest and best. He gave up nine hits and four runs, but two runs scored on Juan Uribe's broken-bat single in the second inning. Adenhart broke as many bats (three) as he had walks and created more firewood than he had strikeouts (one).
Manager Mike Scioscia said he thought Adenhart's stuff was better than his pitching line indicated. Though he wasn't as consistent as he needs to be to turn into a top winner, Adenhart began to show the plus-power stuff that Scioscia is enamored with. He said Adenhart's breaking ball was the best it has been, and that the 21-year-old will be better prepared when he returns.
"His stuff definitely plays in the big leagues," Scioscia said. "It was good for him to come here for three starts and cut his baby teeth."
Hunter said he saw Adenhart showing his teeth after the game, smiling and pleased to have his first Major League victory, though obviously somewhat saddened to return to the Minor Leagues. He said he knew he was going back to Triple-A because Lackey will make his season debut Wednesday.
"They stressed to me to go back and work on command and consistency," Adenhart said, but added that he was happy to leave with a victory and an effort that better reflected his ability.
"My first two starts, I wasn't really happy with myself," Adenhart said. "But it was a good start and a good win. I knew John was coming back, so I understand the situation."
Adenhart had a perfect first inning, which he said helped him settle down. Guerrero then gave him all the solace and support he needed, a welcome sight for a team that snapped its first four-game losing streak of the season and had batted .223 this month after hitting .279 in April.
As Adenhart goes down and Arredondo returns for his second stint, Arredondo will provide much needed bullpen depth. Francisco Rodriguez pitched out of a ninth-inning jam, striking out A.J. Pierzynski looking with runners on the corners to earn his 15th save.
Guerrero made the save possible. He is always the key to any turnaround.
"I think he's always going to swing his way out of slumps, and swing his way in and swing his way out," Scioscia said. "That's the way he is."
John Klima is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.