ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - The Los Angeles Angels have displayed more power on the road this season than they have at home. So their three-homer outburst against Washington was a refreshing change for everyone in the dugout.
Erick Aybar and Vernon Wells went deep during a three-run sixth inning, Hank Conger capped a five-run eighth with a two-run shot and the Angels rallied to beat the Nationals 11-5 on Tuesday night.
The Angels have hit only 17 homers in Anaheim, compared to 46 away from home.
``It's good to see some fireworks tonight,' Wells said after his go-ahead homer. ``Obviously, we haven't seen them much at home, and the home fans deserve a little more than we've given them. So it's good to have an outburst like this.'
Trailing 5-3 after a four-run sixth by Washington, Los Angeles pulled ahead 6-5 in the bottom half. Aybar chased starter Jason Marquis with his fifth homer, a leadoff drive into the lower seats in the right-field corner. Torii Hunter greeted Collin Balester (1-1) with a single, and Wells put the Angels ahead to stay with his 10th homer.
``I'm just trying to get good pitches to hit, put good swings on them and try not to do too much - just let my hands do the work and just take my body out of the equation,' Wells said. ``I'm just trying to have a better approach. In this game, sometimes the more you try to do, the worse it gets. It's just a matter of getting back to basics.'
Wells, who came in batting .205, tied a career high with four hits - the most he's had in 54 games with the Angels since coming over in a trade with Toronto.
``You go through struggles, but that's part of life and part of this game,' he said. ``You learn from it and try to get better. You never get down on yourself.'
The victory was the Angels' 11th in 16 games. It put them over the .500 mark for the first time since June 3 and kept them 1 1/2 games behind first-place Texas in the AL West.
Hisanori Takahashi (2-1) got one out for the victory despite allowing an unearned run. Bobby Cassevah retired Wilson Ramos on an inning-ending double play in the seventh after an intentional walk to Danny Espinosa, then pitched a perfect eighth before the Angels tacked on five more in the ninth on an RBI single by Alberto Callaspo, a two-run double by Mark Trumbo and Conger's fourth homer.
Washington is 0-2 under new manager Davey Johnson after winning 13 of its previous 15 games. Laynce Nix was 4 for 4 with a home run, but the Nationals committed a season-worst five errors after making just 19 in 53 games since May 1.
One reason for the sloppy play might have been the new sodding that was installed at Angel Stadium after U2 performed a pair of concerts here two weekends ago.
``They hit balls hard and the infield was a little rough,' Johnson said. ``It's a fast infield, and when balls are smoked, sometimes it's hard to get a glove on them. But we have a fine defensive team, so the errors don't bother me at all.'
Marquis escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third when he got Callaspo to ground into an inning-ending double play. The Angels loaded the bases again with one out in the fifth and Trumbo hit a grounder toward the middle that shortstop Ian Desmond misplayed for an error that allowed two runs to score, giving Los Angeles a 3-1 lead. Trumbo was credited with one RBI on the play.
``You can tell there was a concert here and they redid the infield. But it didn't affect us yesterday, so I'm not going to make any excuses,' Desmond said. ``You can't really blame the infield. You've got to be in position to make every play, but it just doesn't always work out.
``We've been playing great baseball up to this point, and we've really been battling our tails off,' he added. ``So I don't think anybody in here is going to have any problem bouncing back tomorrow.'
Angels starter Joel Pineiro was charged with four runs - three earned - and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Marquis allowed four runs - three earned - and eight hits in five-plus innings.
Notes: Angels manager Mike Scioscia's 129 interleague victories are two shy of Joe Torre's record, with four games left on the schedule against NL teams. ... The Angels have won 16 straight games in which they've scored four or more runs, the longest such streak by any team this season. ... Pat Corrales will begin his third stint as Nationals bench coach beginning Friday night, when they host Pittsburgh. He managed in the big leagues with Texas, Philadelphia and Cleveland. ``He has a great pedigree and he'll be a good addition,' Johnson said. ``And if anybody tries to pick a fight with me, they'll have to go through him.' ... Nix was taken out for a pinch-runner in the seventh when his troublesome Achilles' acted up. ... A ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Bobby Grich, the second baseman on the Angels' first three AL West championship teams. Grich also was a teammate of Johnson's in Baltimore for parts of three seasons, replacing him as the Orioles' regular 2B in 1973. ``When I was in Baltimore,' Johnson recalled, ``they sent Bobby back down to Triple-A (in 1971) and said, `Hit some home runs, son.' He went down there and hit 36, so they traded me to Atlanta.'
The Associated Press News Service
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