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10/18/09 3:45 AM EST
Halos come to life in wild fifth frame
Los Angeles takes advantage of Burnett's lack of control
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- As their 0-2 hole illustrates, the Angels have had their struggles thus far in the American League Championship Series -- especially at the plate. But they did take advantage of a wild fifth inning to make a game out of what turned out to be a 4-3, 13-inning loss to the Yankees in Game 2 on Saturday night. After one game and four innings of offensive woes, the Angels finally got something going against New York in the top of the fifth with a little bit of timely hitting and a little help from Yankees starter A.J. Burnett, as they scored twice in the frame to even the score at 2.
The inning began when Maicer Izturis reached on a ground-rule double. One out later, he scored when Erick Aybar ripped a ground-ball RBI single to center to make it 2-1 Yankees. Burnett, battling control woes, plunked Chone Figgins to put two on, after Aybar had stolen second. That brought up Bobby Abreu, who has been silent this series but had a big opportunity to make some noise. Abreu worked the count full, then fouled off three Burnett pitches in succession. He then lofted a fly ball deep toward the left-field corner, but Johnny Damon was able to haul it in just in front of the wall, in foul territory. The runners stayed put. With two out, the Angels had Torii Hunter at the plate, and he drew ball four from Burnett. But it was a wild ball four, skipping in the dirt and ricocheting into the stands. Aybar attempted to streak home from second, but home-plate umpire Laz Diaz directed him back to third. Diaz was citing Rule 7.05(h), which states: "When a pitched ball goes out of play or is deflected out of play, the award for all runners is one base from the base they occupied when the ball was pitched." Aybar, however, was not at third long. Burnett threw yet another wild one -- though only his first wild pitch, because no one advanced on the ball four to Hunter -- to Vladimir Guerrero, on a pitch away and in the dirt that Guerrero swung at and missed. The ball skipped away from catcher Jose Molina, all the runners advanced, and Aybar came home with the tying run. "That one got away from me," Burnett said. When Guerrero grounded out to short, a long, wild -- and, for the Angels, productive -- inning was over, 33 pitches after it began. In the end, though, it wasn't wild or productive enough to push the Angels toward a victory.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.