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08/06/08 7:45 PM ET
Santana wins 13th as Angels pound O's
Teixeira, Guerrero team up to power right-hander to victory
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- The Angels were ready for soft-throwing lefty Garrett Olson. It turned out that getting shut out for eight innings by fellow lefty Chris Waters the night before was a great warmup for the Angels, who faced a similar left-hander in Olson on Wednesday afternoon. This time, the Angels didn't let a finesse left-hander beat them, as they jumped all over Olson early, scoring six runs against him in just 2 2/3 innings en route to a 9-4 win over the Orioles at Angel Stadium. "What we saw yesterday was that a guy called up can beat you if he hits his spots," Torii Hunter said." But today, the guy was the same way. It was the same kind of lefty, and we teed off on him. Baseball's crazy. I don't try to figure it out." But it isn't difficult to figure out that the Angels now have one of the best 1-2 punches in the Majors with Mark Teixeira and Vladimir Guerrero. Teixeira went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and Guerrero went 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk, two runs scored and four RBIs. "Anytime you have the presence like Mark in your lineup, if you're hitting in front or behind him, it's a good spot," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "This guy sets the table well and gets on base a lot. I think you saw today that if we set the table in the middle of the lineup, these guys are going to drive them in." But it wasn't just Teixeira and Guerrero who hurt the Orioles, as seven of the nine Angels batters had at least one hit, and the first five hitters in the lineup scored at least one run. "I don't have to carry this team," said Teixeira who is batting .285 with a .444 on-base percentage with the Angels in eight games. "There's not one guy on this team that has to carry the team. That's the great thing about us right now." The Angels jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the fourth inning, allowing right-hander Ervin Santana to relax a bit. "It's a bit different when we score five or more runs," said Santana, who won his 13th game of the season. "It takes some pressure off you. I just said to myself to keep pitching like the score is nothing-nothing." Santana tossed seven effective innings, making just two mistakes -- a solo home run by Luis Montanez in the third and a three-run homer by Nick Markakis in the fifth. He struck out seven batters and walked none. "Early runs were important today," Scioscia said. "It allowed Ervin to keep pitching. He pitched very well, and in seven innings he made just a couple mistakes." After being held scoreless for nine innings the night before, the Angels scored in a hurry, plating at least one run in each of the first four innings to the delight of the crowd of 40,130. In the first inning, the offense was led by Guerrero's two-run shot and a run-scoring double by Garret Anderson. It was Guerrero's 20th homer of the season, making him just the fourth player in club history to have at least 20 home runs in five straight seasons with the Angels. The Angels added another run in the second on Jeff Mathis' ninth home run of the year and two more in the third on a wild pitch by Olson and an RBI single by Anderson, who finished 3-for-4. Guerrero then powered the Angels again in the fifth with a two-run single off the wall in right field. "Vlad's numbers have been terrific for the last 50 games," Scioscia said. "When he was hitting a mere mortal .270 early in the season, there was no doubt about what he was going to bring to our lineup through the long haul of the season." With the win, the Angels will carry a double-digit lead in the American League West heading into Friday's three-game series with the Yankees. The Angels improved to 15-0-3 in their previous 18 series against AL opponents. But Teixeira isn't worried about the club becoming complacent. "We're competitive," Teixeira said. "We want to win. That's the way we are. We just want to go out there and keep winning games. We're not taking anything for granted. The division isn't sewed up yet."
Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.