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Angels cash in on D-backs' errors

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PHOENIX (AP)

Gary Matthews Jr. took a big lead and stole home. The Los Angeles Angels took a big lead and hung on. Matthews Jr. swiped home and hit a three-run double, Juan Rivera, Jeff Mathis and Maicer Izturis homered and the Los Angeles Angels cashed in on four Arizona errors to defeat the Diamondbacks 12-8 on Sunday afternoon. Matthews' steal helped the Angels build a 9-2 lead in the fifth. They let the NL West cellar dwellers draw within 9-8 in the sixth before the bullpen closed the door. On a day the teams combined for 20 runs and 26 hits, the most exciting play came in the fourth, when Angels manager Mike Scioscia gave Matthews the green light to steal with Arizona's Max Scherzer (5-5) pitching from the windup. "How many opportunities do you get to steal home and the manager doesn't mind it?" Matthews said. "So I figured I could give it a shot." With two out and the bases loaded, Matthews had doubled down the left field line to give the Angels a 3-2 lead, then took third on third baseman Augie Ojeda's throwing error. With Erick Aybar batting from the left side, Matthews broke as Scherzer went into his windup on a 1-2 count. Matthews and the ball arrived at the plate at the same time, and he slid under Montero's tag. "They're definitely not expecting that with two strikes," Matthews said. "The key is obviously getting out there far enough, but also kind of surprising someone." It was the second time Matthews has stolen home. He scored his first career run by stealing home on June 4, 1999. Los Angeles swept the three-game series and wrapped up interleague play with a majors-leading 14-4 record, including 8-1 on the road. "I think the bottom line is you have to play good baseball, whether you're playing interleague in a National League park, where you take the DH out," Scioscia said. "We haven't won these games because we're playing National League clubs. We've won them because we've happened to play good baseball at the time." The Diamondbacks dug themselves a big hole with their gloves and nearly dug out of it with their bats. Arizona collapsed in the fifth, committing three errors in a span of five batters to match a franchise record for errors in an inning. First baseman Mark Reynolds dropped a routine throw, right fielder Justin Upton dropped a line drive and second baseman Felipe Lopez let a grounder go through his legs as the Chase Field crowd of 25,684 erupted into boos. "It's embarrassing for us, for the fans, our GM (Josh Byrnes), our players and our whole family," Ojeda said. Arizona manager A.J. Hinch called the mistakes "inexcusable," but they're not uncommon for a team that leads the majors with 71 errors. Only three of the eight runs allowed by Scherzer were earned. He went 4 1-3 innings and gave up four hits, walked three and struck out two. Down 9-2 in the fifth, the Diamondbacks awoke against Angels starter Matt Palmer (7-1), who allowed six runs and 10 hits in five innings, walking two. Arizona got a run back on Gerardo Parra's groundout in the fifth, then pulled within 9-8 in the sixth on a two-run double by Tony Clark and RBI singles by Stephen Drew, Parr and Montero. The Angels made it 10-8 in the eighth on a solo shot by Mathis and 12-8 on Izturis' two-run homer. "We did battle back and showed some guts and some character, but at the end of the day we lost the game, and that's what I'm disappointed in," Hinch said.

Notes

The Angels matched a season with 12 runs. They also did it Friday night in a series-opening 12-3 win. ... Hinch closed the clubhouse before the game to call a team meeting - the third in less than two weeks but would not divulge what was said. "We had a lot to talk about," Hinch said. "We are a last-place team not playing up to our standards." ... Arizona is 2-11-1 in home series this year, and 0-7-1 under Hinch, who replaced Bob Melvin on May 8. ... The Angels open a three-game series at Texas on Monday night. The division rivals will play six times in the next 10 days.
Tagged: Angels, Diamondbacks

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