Angels 1 Win Away From Clinching American League West

Friday, September 21st 2007, 7:27 am
By: News On 6

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ One more win over the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels are AL West champions again.

Los Angeles beat Seattle 9-5 Thursday night to increase its lead over the second-place Mariners to 9 1/2 games.

The Angels will try to clinch their third division title in four years and become baseball's first team to lock up a playoff berth when they face Seattle on Friday night in the second game of a four-game series.

Los Angeles' Joe Saunders will take the mound against former Angel Jarrod Washburn.

In other AL games, Baltimore beat Texas 6-3 in 10 innings and Kansas City blanked the Chicago White Sox 3-0.

The West rivalry turned heated and led to a scrum at the mound on Thursday, when Vladimir Guerrero had to duck two fastballs by Seattle reliever Jorge Campillo.

After Angels starter Jered Weaver hit Kenji Johjima in the back as he tried to twist away from the ball in the fourth inning, Campillo came in high and tight against Jeff Mathis in the bottom half, then threw close to Guerrero's head.

Guerrero got back in the batter's box, dug in and hit a two-run homer, his 26th, pausing at home to watch as the ball cleared the fence.

After Campillo's fastball whizzed past Guerrero's head in the sixth, the slugger got up off the ground, pointed and started toward the mound before he was restrained by Seattle first baseman Ben Broussard and Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

Although both benches _ and bullpens _ emptied and gathered around the mound, there apparently were no punches thrown. Campillo and Seattle manager John McLaren were ejected.

Scioscia, who notched his 700th victory since becoming the Angels manager in 2000, had harsh words for Campillo.

``I don't know where that guy came off throwing at Mathis and Guerrero. If it came from the bench, it's more disturbing,'' Scioscia said. ``If that guy's not suspended for a month, something's wrong because those two were as flagrant as they get.

``Our philosophy's not to retaliate. The league's got to take some action and I'm sure they will.''

The usually stoic Guerrero said he started toward the mound because he was angry.

Guerrero, relegated to DH recently because of a sore right triceps, stood alone next to the plate while players from both teams mobbed the mound, shouting and shoving before the umpires broke it up.

``If I'm going to get hit, that's fine. You can hit me, but stay away from my head. When they do it twice, that's too much,'' Guerrero said through a translator. ``And what they did to our catcher, too.''

Asked if he was making a statement when he paused to watch his homer, Guerrero said, ``I'm not going to lie about it, yes. As a hitter, the way you want to answer is to take a good swing. I'm glad it went out of the ballpark.

``But I don't want to get caught up in that. It was right for that situation, but I hope it doesn't happen again.''

Weaver said he had no intention of hitting Johjima.

``That was just one of the ones of the year that got away from me,'' said Weaver, who has hit only one other batter this year. ``They proved their point one time, and there was no need for it to get that bad.

``Especially going after Vlade. He's our superstar, he's our guy who's going to carry us in the playoffs. For them to go after him once, then go after him again is completely unnecessary. I don't know if it was frustrating for them because we were up five runs and their season's kind of slipping.''

McLaren defended Campillo, who was pitching in just his fifth major league game.

``Guerrero's hitting .600 against us. We throw the ball in the dirt and he hits it. The guy hitting behind him (Garret Anderson) is their hottest hitter since the All-Star break, so you pick your poison,'' he said.

``Campillo threw it up and in and he overthrew it.''

Anderson doubled in a pair of runs and Howie Kendrick singled home two more during a five-run third inning against Ryan Feierabend (1-5) as Los Angeles erased a 2-0 deficit.

Weaver (13-7) left with a 7-4 lead after five innings and won for the fifth time in his past six starts. He gave up nine hits, including Raul Ibanez's 20th homer, a two-run shot in the fifth.

Orioles 6, Rangers 3, 10 innings

At Arlington, Texas, Nick Markakis scored the go-ahead run on an error in the 10th inning and Baltimore beat Texas in the first meeting since the Rangers scored an AL-record 39 runs in a doubleheader sweep last month.

Markakis led off the 10th with an infield single. After going to second on a wild pitch by John Rheinecker (3-3), Markakis scored to break a 1-1 tie when first baseman Brad Wilkerson couldn't field Aubrey Huff's grounder.

Jamie Walker (2-2), the fifth of six Baltimore pitchers, struck out three in 1 2-3 innings.

The last time the teams played, on Aug. 22, the Rangers became the first team in 110 years to score 30 runs in a game. They set an American League record in a 30-3 rout in the opener of a doubleheader at Camden Yards, then won 9-7 to complete the sweep.

Royals 3, White Sox 0

At Kansas City, Mo., Zack Greinke struck out a career-high 10 and allowed two hits in eight innings to lead Kansas City.

Greinke (7-6), making his sixth start since rejoining the rotation on Aug. 24, allowed just one runner past first base and became the first Kansas City pitcher to reach double digits in strikeouts since Odalis Perez fanned 10 against Boston on Sept. 8 last year. Joakim Soria followed with a perfect ninth for his 17th save in 21 chances as Kansas City (66-86) moved back ahead of Chicago (66-87) and out of last place in the AL Central.

Jon Garland (9-13) gave up three runs and six hits in eight innings for the visiting White Sox.