Napoli’s homer in ninth gives Los Angeles win
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Mike Napoli couldn’t remember hitting a game-winning homer in the bottom of the ninth, even when he was a kid. So he really enjoyed the first one.
“It was a great feeling,” Napoli said Friday night after his teammates mobbed him after his two-out, two-run homer gave the Los Angeles Angels a 5-3 win over Seattle. “I’d never done that before. I was just trying to get a pitch to drive to the gap.”
Miguel Batista (1-7) had walked Robb Quinlan with two outs, and Chone Figgins came in to pinch-run.
“I knew if I got the ball in the gap, he could score from first because he can fly,” Napoli said.
Instead, he hit a 3-1 pitch from Batista deep over the fence in left, a drive that started the crowd cheering wildly almost as soon as the ball left the bat.
That gave Napoli four RBIs for the game, including a sacrifice fly in the seventh that tied it at 3, after he singled in Los Angeles’ second run in the second inning.
Jose Arredondo (8-2) pitched a perfect ninth for the victory.
Although they wrapped up the A.L. West on Wednesday, the Angels still want to secure home-field advantage throughout the A.L. playoffs. Their 90-57 record is baseball’s best.
The Angels’ Juan Rivera led off the seventh with a double against Ryan Rowland-Smith, went to third on Quinlan’s groundout and scored the tying run on Napoli’s sacrifice fly.
Los Angeles closer Francisco Rodriguez, not needed this time, still has 15 games remaining to try to rewrite the major league single-season saves record. He got his 57th in Thursday night’s 7-4 win over Seattle to match Bobby Thigpen’s record set in 1990. Rodriguez had moved within one of the mark when he pitched the ninth of the Angels’ A.L. West-clinching victory over the New York Yankees the previous day.
Angels right fielder Vladimir Guerrero left the game after four innings because of soreness in his right knee.
Adrian Beltre had two hits and drove in two runs for Seattle as he extended his hitting streak to 15 games, the longest active streak in the majors.
After Beltre doubled home a run in the first, Quinlan’s RBI triple and a Napoli’s run-scoring single gave Los Angeles a 2-1 lead in the second.
The Mariners moved out front with a pair of runs off Joe Saunders in the fifth, on two-out RBI singles by Raul Ibanez and Beltre.