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04/11/09 4:45 PM ET
Save by Shields nothing to read into
Manager Scioscia says Fuentes is still the Angels' closer
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Right-hander Scot Shields earned the save in the Angels' 6-3 win over the Red Sox on Friday night, but manager Mike Scioscia said Saturday that left-hander Brian Fuentes is still the team's closer. Shields came into the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on second base, but he retired J.D. Drew on a fly ball to left field on just his second pitch. So Scioscia decided to keep Shields out there for the ninth because he faced just one batter the inning before and the Angels had a three-run lead. "The most important reason was not to go through pitchers when we felt like we had a guy who could close the game," Scioscia said. "We stayed with Scot and he got the job done, but Brian is still our closer." It wasn't an unprecedented move for Scioscia, as Shields saved four games last season and has 20 saves over the past five seasons. But Shields said his save Friday night was the most special one because it preserved a win in the Angels' first game since Nick Adenhart was killed in a hit-and-run accident early Thursday. "We wanted that win bad," Shields said. "Once I went back out there in the ninth, I wanted to shut it down. We wanted that 'W' for him and for his parents." Shields faced right-handers Jason Bay and Mike Lowell to open the ninth and walked Bay before inducing Lowell into a double play. He then retired switch-hitter Jed Lowrie to end the game. Scioscia insisted that Shields didn't remain out there just because the first two batters in the inning were right-handed and Fuentes is left-handed. "Brian, when he's throwing the ball well, is effective against lefties and righties," Scioscia said. "So it presented itself, but that wasn't influential in the decision. It was just because Scot threw [two] pitches in the eighth and we had a three-run lead."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.