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Published: Wednesday, 5/23/2007

Angels defense stymies Tigers

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT - Orlando Cabrera helped the Los Angeles Angels build a lead and hold on at the end.

Cabrera homered and made a leaping catch with Detroit threatening in the ninth to help the Angels beat the Tigers 6-3 last night for their sixth straight victory.

Detroit pushed across two runs in the ninth inning and nearly had more. Placido Polanco hit an RBI single and Magglio Ordonez drew a bases-loaded walk from Francisco Rodriguez with two outs to get the Tigers within three.

Carlos Guillen followed with a hard liner up the middle, but Cabrera was there. The former Gold Glove shortstop cut over and caught the ball at the top of his jump.

"O.C. ending the game like that was kind of appropriate tonight," said John Lackey, who pitched five innings for Los Angeles.

The Angels defense came up big throughout the win.

Center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. made two sparkling catches, first baseman Rob Quinlan made a diving stop on Curtis Granderson's one-hop liner down the line in the third, and third baseman Chone Figgins made a nice backhand stop of Ordonez's one-hopper with two on and two out in the fifth.

"They were hitting the ball hard and we made plays," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Mike Napoli and Robb Quinlan also homered for Los Angeles.

Ordonez homered for Detroit, which had won three in a row.

"We battled them 'til the end," Gary Sheffield said. "We hit some balls hard, but they played great defense. We just came up short."

Lackey (7-3) gave up a run on three hits. Rodriguez held on for his 14th save in 15 chances.

"I didn't have good stuff at all. I didn't locate anything," Lackey said. "Guys played great defense behind me."

Lackey, who threw 101 pitches, has been bothered by a sore left ankle. But he said it had no effect on his performance.

"He didn't have his best stuff and best command," Scioscia said. "But it was big to get us through five."

It was scoreless when Lackey walked the bases loaded in the second, throwing a total of 41 pitches.

He escaped without

allowing a run when Matthews ran in and made a diving catch on Brandon Inge's liner.

"Tough play because there's no one backing me up," Matthews said. "You either catch it or you've got the Detroit Invitational breaking out with everybody running."

Inge was obviously frustrated.

"I hit the ball good, but it looked like he was playing in on me," he said. "It should have fallen in."

Matthews also raced deep into the right-center field gap to grab Craig Monroe's drive with a man on to end the sixth.

Napoli put the Angels ahead when he opened the third with a home run over the center field fence against Mike Maroth (3-1).

Figgins then ended an 0-for-22 slump with a double and Cabrera lined his second homer for a 3-0 lead.

Ordonez got the Tigers' first hit of the game, leading off the fourth with his 10th home run. The ball barely cleared the right-field fence, over the glove of a leaping Vladimir Guerrero.

Los Angeles made it 5-1 in the fifth on sacrifice flies by Reggie Willits and Cabrera.

The runs were set up by Inge's throwing error at third base.

Quinlan homered in the sixth.

NOTES: Scioscia will miss the team's games in New York on Saturday and Sunday to attend the high school graduation of his son Matt, who is headed to Notre Dame on a baseball scholarship. ... Detroit RHP Jeremy Bonderman, on the 15-day disabled list with a blister on his right middle finger, is still on track to start tomorrow. He missed his last two starts. ... The Tigers optioned LHP Andrew Miller to Double-A Erie.



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