Los Angeles-Cleveland: Justin Speier Blows Save

Emily RosatiCorrespondent IApril 8, 2008

The Angels were down one in the bottom of the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians, when Vladimir Guerrero hit a 427ft two-run homer to make the score 3-2. With both Jake Westbrook and Ervin Santana doing a good job at limiting the hits, fans thought Vlady’s first HR this season would clench the game.

Justin Speier was brought in after Darren Oliver continued to hit batters in the eighth inning. Going into the ninth 3-2, the Angels would normally bring in star closer Francisco Rodriguez, but he was unavailable due to a sore ankle from last night’s opening series game.

Speier struck out Casey Blake and walked Asdrubal Cabrera with two outs in the top of the ninth. All the fans had risen to their feet when Travis Hafner got behind in the count with two strikes. Hafner chopped a ball down first base line right to Angel’s Casey Kotchman, fans applauded before realizing the ball had rolled foul.

Hafner followed this with a ball rocketed to right field making this his second home run and putting the Indians one inning away from victory.

Gary Matthews Jr. hit a single into right field, but was sent back to the dugout when Vlady hit into a double play. Garrett Anderson then hit a fly ball to Grady Sizemore in center field to end the game.

Westbrook was given the win after completing all nine innings with four strike outs, seven hits, three runs, and no walks. Westbrook looked strong for the entire game, despite Vlad’s big home run in the sixth. The Angels batters failed to work Westbrook and the pitch-count, which allowed Westbrook to get through five scoreless innings with only 44 pitches.

Francisco Rodriguez will be sitting out at least for a few days to rest his ankles, though it is unsure at this point if he will need to be placed on the disabled list. The Angels' bullpen is still weak, with two starting pitchers and now K-Rod out on injuries.

Both the Indians and the Angels have had weak bats thus far in the season, but the Angels' big-hitters seem to be getting back into the swing of things with Vladimir’s home run today and Hunter’s walk off grand slam yesterday.

Tomorrow night Moseley (0-1) will face Byrd (0-1) for the last game of the series before the Angels hit the road to face Seattle and Texas.