California pitchers blank Twins on 4 hits

Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Anaheim Angels still have the Minnesota Twins' number.

Ramon Ortiz combined with two relievers on a four-hitter, and Tim Salmon and Scott Spiezio each hit two-run homers as the defending World Series champs beat the Twins 5-0 Friday night in their first meeting since the AL championship series.

Despite a sellout crowd of 43,442, the scene at Edison Field was quite different from the frenzied atmosphere last Oct. 13 when the Angels clinched their first AL pennant with a 13-5 victory -- using Adam Kennedy's three home runs and a 10-run seventh inning to eliminate the Twins before going on to win the World Series.

"I'd love to sit here and say we're coming back here for revenge -- but in order to get revenge, you've got to be playing well. And obviously, we're not doing that," said center fielder Denny Hocking, who sat out the ALCS with an injured finger.


Both teams have fallen on hard times this year because of injuries. The Twins (44-47) are 51⁄2; games behind Kansas City in the Central Division with a six-game losing streak, after winning 94 games in 2002. The Angels, who won a franchise-record 99 games last season, are 9 1-2 games out in the West Division with a 47-43 record -- despite winning 10 of their last 14.

"We have the same team as last year -- and the way we've been playing lately, I can see us putting together a good run. It isn't far-fetched at all," Spiezio said. "We've had to battle injuries, but this team still feels we have a great chance to make the playoffs."

Ortiz (11-6) allowed three hits and four walks over six innings, striking out five and stranding eight baserunners. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth by striking out Hocking.

"We had chances, but we just missed every opportunity to score runs," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We just can't seem to get a big hit right now."

Notes: Gardenhire has decided not to appeal the one-game suspension he received from major league baseball, and will sit out Saturday's game. Gardenhire was ejected from the Twins' 4-1 loss to Cleveland at the Metrodome on July 3 by plate umpire Eric Cooper after Kenny Rogers hit Cleveland's Milton Bradley with a pitch. It was in retaliation for the two pitches Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia plunked Corey Koskie and Bobby Kielty with. ... Rogers also has decided not to appeal the five-game suspension he got for his actions, and will begin serving a five-game suspension on Saturday. Rogers has a chipped bone in the fourth toe on his right foot, and wasn't scheduled to pitch again until July 20, at the earliest.

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