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Published: Thursday, 7/24/2008

Angels amass 19 hits to top Indians

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Grady Sizemore makes a diving catch in the seventh inning of yesterday afternoon's game against the Angels. Sizemore contributed his 25th home run to the Tribe's 14-hit attack. Grady Sizemore makes a diving catch in the seventh inning of yesterday afternoon's game against the Angels. Sizemore contributed his 25th home run to the Tribe's 14-hit attack.
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ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Los Angeles Angels came up with just enough offense to overcome one of John Lackey's worst outings of the season and a subpar outing by their bullpen.

Jeff Mathis had four hits with a career-high six RBIs, including his first grand slam in the majors, and Casey Kotchman had a career-best five hits for the AL West leaders in a 14-11 victory over the Cleveland Indians yesterday.

"Everybody came out swinging today and we were making solid contact," said Howie Kendrick, who had four hits and drove in three runs. "It seemed like we had runners in scoring position all day. We were getting pitches out over the plate to hit, and guys weren't missing. Our pitchers have been carrying us for a while, but it looks like our bats are waking up a little bit."

The Angels padded their AL West lead to 10 games over Oakland with a season-high 19 hits. Kendrick equaled a franchise record with three doubles and raised his average to .341.

"Right now I'm just feeling good and trying to ride it out," said the Angels second baseman, who returned to the lineup on May 30 after missing 42 games with a strained left hamstring.

"When you're coming back off an injury, you've just got to see pitches and get that confidence back. I'm feeling very good in the box right now, I'm seeing the ball pretty well and I think I'm being a little more patient."

It was the first time in Angels history that three players each had four or more hits in the same game. Mathis added a two-run double in the sixth and Kendrick capped the Angels' scoring binge with a two-run single in the seventh.

Kotchman, the son of longtime Angels scout and minor league manager Tom Kotchman, raised his average to .289. He is third on the club with 48 RBIs and leads the Angels with 24 doubles.

Lackey (8-2) allowed six runs and eight hits over five innings, but was able to call it quits with a 10-6 lead after his teammates scored five runs in the fifth. The six runs were the most allowed by the right-hander in any of his 77 career victories.

Somehow out of all this chaos, Francisco Rodriguez ended up with his major league-leading 42nd save after Jose Arredondo gave up a two-out RBI double in the ninth to David Dellucci.

"We fought hard, we just didn't win," Cleveland's Grady Sizemore said. "It's not a wasted effort, but it's still not what we wanted as far as the outcome."

Aaron Laffey (5-7) pitched four-plus innings, allowing eight runs and 12 hits. The Indians had a 6-5 lead when the left-hander departed with the bases loaded and none out in the fifth.

"His stuff was a little bit better, but he was still erratic," manager Eric Wedge said. "He was working from behind, and when he does come in, he hasn't shown the command that he used to show to throw a quality strike and get guys out. He's got some work to do."

Tom Mastny, making his first appearance since July 13, relieved Laffey and forced in the tying run with a walk to Matthews. Mathis drove the right-hander's next pitch to left-center for his eighth homer of the season and second in two days.

"Tom hadn't been out there in a while, but that's the role he's in right now and he just didn't have it today," Wedge said.

Mathis' grand slam was the 10th given up by the Cleveland staff, the most in the majors, and the most by the Indians in one season since the club began keeping track in 1951.

Ryan Garko hit a two-run homer that gave Cleveland a 4-2 lead in the fourth. He added a two-run single in the eighth that cut the Angels' lead to 14-10. Sizemore added his 25th home run, one more than he had in 162 games last year.

ANGELS 3, INDIANS 2

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Jeff Mathis hit a go-ahead solo homer in the fifth inning to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a victory over the Cleveland Indians.

Angels right-hander Jered Weaver, making his first start since July 9, threw 77 pitches over three innings then left with tightness in the middle of his back. He allowed two runs and three hits. Darren Oliver (4-1) relieved him and allowed one hit in 22/3

innings for the victory.

Matt Ginter (1-1) allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings in his second start with the Indians. On July 12, he held Tampa Bay to five hits over five scoreless innings in an 8-4 victory. He has yet to walk a batter.

Cleveland's Grady Sizemore hit his 24th home run. It was Sizemore's sixth leadoff homer of the season, breaking Kenny Lofton's 1999 club record. Sizemore's 17 career leadoff homers are one behind Lofton's franchise mark.

The Indians scored their second run when Kelly Shoppach was hit with an 0-2 pitch leading off the second and came around on Franklin Gutierrez's triple to left-center.



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