ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Vernon Wells, off to a horrendous start in his first season with the Los Angeles Angels, contributed to the winning rally after getting a much-needed day off.
The three-time All-Star, mired in 4 for 48 rut, singled sharply into the hole off the glove of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera with one out in the 12th and scored on Jeff Mathis' bases-loaded sacrifice fly to give the Angels a 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday in the rubber game of their three-game series.
``You know what? He needed that,' teammate Torii Hunter said of Wells, who joined the Angels in a January trade with Toronto. ``He squared the ball up and got that feel again of hitting the ball hard.
``This is definitely a totally different scene for him. He was in Toronto for 12 years, and I definitely feel that has something to do with it. I mean, you change scenery, it feels uncomfortable sometimes and you feel like you're not welcomed until you do something special. And today he got that rally started. He's on his way, and it's uphill from here.'
Chad Durbin (0-1) walked Alberto Callaspo after Wells' hit, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch to rookie Mark Trumbo.
``There's no need to put a guy into scoring position. You have to make them hit the guy there,' Durbin said. ``Making them hit a ground ball was all I was thinking. I kept trying to throw sinkers middle-away and let it run off the plate or down, but I wasn't very efficient. I wasn't being aggressive over the plate. That's what a reliever has to do - attack the zone.'
An intentional walk to Trumbo loaded the bases for Mathis, who lifted a 2-1 pitch to medium center field and Wells streaked home ahead of Michael Brantley's throw. Last September at Anaheim, Mathis beat the Indians by the same 4-3 score in the 16th inning with a sacrifice fly.
``We just played a hot team, and they won eight in a row before yesterday. So just to cool those guys down shows that we're playing pretty well ourselves,' Hunter said.
Hisanori Takahashi (1-0) posted his first AL victory with two perfect innings. The left-hander was 10-6 with the Mets last season as a rookie with 3.61 ERA in 53 appearances, including 12 starts.
Angels right-hander Ervin Santana, still looking for his first win of the season, gave up three runs and six hits over seven-plus innings and struck out three.
Santana, who has spent his entire seven-year career with the Angels and defeated every American League team except Cleveland, entered the eighth with a 3-2 lead and departed after giving up a leadoff single to Adam Everett.
Brantley greeted Scott Downs with a single that sent Everett to third. Everett was caught in a rundown and tagged out by third baseman Callaspo after he fielded Cabrera's grounder. But Brantley and Cabrera both advanced on Downs' wild pitch, and Brantley scored the tying run on a groundout by Shin-Soo Choo before Fernando Rodney came in and struck out Carlos Santana.
The blown save by Downs left Santana's career record against the Indians at 0-6 with a 4.98 ERA.
``He has great life on his fastball, a great sinker and a slider that he can throw for strikes anytime he wants,' said Indians shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who played for the Angels during Santana's first three seasons in the majors. ``When you have the stuff that Ervin has, it was just a matter of him staying healthy. I've been watching him on TV, and he's become a pitcher, not a thrower. And he's got a great team behind him that can make good plays defensively.'
Cleveland had runners at the corners with one out in the fourth, but Santana escaped the jam on a double-play grounder by Orlando Cabrera, whose comebacker deflected off the pitcher's glove to second baseman Howie Kendrick.
The Angels got three in the bottom half against Carlos Carrasco for a 3-1 lead. Kendrick led off with a double in the gap and circled the bases on a throwing error to second base by Asdrubal Cabrera, who was in short left field along with Orlando Cabrera for the cutoff throw as first baseman Matt LaPorta hustled over to cover the bag.
Bobby Abreu then drew his sixth walk of the series and Hunter drove an 0-1 pitch over the wall in left-center, the 15th homer by the Angels this season and only the second with anyone on base.
``He just hung a slider. I saw it, my radar went off and I was able to put something on it,' Hunter said.
Cleveland got a run back in the fifth when Everett beat out a two-out single to deep shortstop and scored on Brantley's double.
Carrasco allowed three runs and five hits over seven innings with five strikeouts and two walks.
``Carrasco threw a tremendous ballgame and had a very live fastball,' manager Manny Acta said. ``I don't think he gave up anything on the fastball. The home run came was on a slider and Kendrick's double was on a breaking ball.'
NOTES: Angels relievers have not been charged with a run in 22 innings over their last seven games, after giving up 14 runs and six homers in 18 1-3 innings during the team's first five games of the season. ... Indians RHP Joe Smith, who began the season on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained abdominal muscle, is expected to be activated on Friday for the opener of a three-game series against Baltimore at Progressive Field. CF Grady Sizemore and INF-DH Jason Donald, who have been on rehab assignments with Double-A Akron, will join Triple-A Columbus on Thursday for a game at Toledo.
The Associated Press News Service
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