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Angels Pull Ahead Of Texas In AL


ANAHEIM -- Rookie Chris Pritchett delivered a bases-clearing double and drove in a career-high four runs as the Anaheim Angels strengthened their hold on first place in the American League West with a 7-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox Monday night.

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  • holding a 3-0 lead, the Angels doubled their advantage in the third. Garret Anderson singled and one out later moved to third on Jim Edmonds' hit. After fellow rookie Troy Glaus walked, Pritchett lined Jim Parque's 2-1 pitch into the left-center field gap, clearing the bases.

    Pritchett extended the lead to 7-2 in the fifth when he singled home Glaus. The 28-year-old rookie had collected just three RBI in his first 12 major-league games.

    "I've been banging around for a while down there. You never know if you're ever going to get back again," Pritchett said. "I certainly didn't think this was going to be the year. Things weren't going real well down there. There's a whole slew of first basemen up here so it really wasn't on my mind. But I welcome the chance and I'm glad to be beck up here."

    "Pritchett does a good job, you only get so many chances," Angels manager Terry Collins said. "Reggie Williams, Pritchett, Palmeiro whoever else we've called up, they've said hey this may be my chance to prove I belong in the big league. Chris has done a great job."

    Steve Sparks (7-2) won his fourth straight decision, allowing two runs and nine hits over seven innings with three strikeouts. The knuckleballer was a combined 0-8 in 11 starts this season with Midland of the Texas League and Vancouver of the Pacific Coast League but has helped solidify Anaheim's injury-ravaged rotation.

    "I didn't have a real good knuckelball ... thank goodness Pritchett and Nevin gave us a lot of runs," Sparks said. "I could just try to throw as many strikes as I could and eat up as many innings as I could."

    Shigetoshi Hasegawa finished up with two scoreless innings for Anaheim, which has won seven of nine to move one game ahead of idle Texas in the AL West.

    "This is a big homestand, it's real easy to look ahead to the Yankees, Boston and Cleveland," Collins said. "But we've got to take care of business because if we have a big homestand, all of a sudden it might take a little of the sting away from going on that trip. That's why these are key games for us."

    Frank Thomas and Albert Belle accounted for Chicago's offense with back-to-back homers in the fourth. Parque (3-5) lost for the fifth time in six decisions, yielding seven runs -- four earned -- and nine hits in six innings.

    "It wasn't one of my better outings, there's not much more I can say," Parque said. "When it's 7-2 in the fifth or sixth inning, the intensity level may drop a bit and it's tough to come back."

    Anaheim opened the scoring with three runs in the second. Tim Salmon led off with a single and moved to third when second baseman Ray Durham threw away Edmonds' grounder. Salmon scored on Glaus' groundout and one out later Phil Nevin belted his eighth home run to straightaway center.

    "It's a sign of youth when you can't overcome your physical errors," Chicago manager Jerry Manuel said. "I don't think that Jim doesn't have the ability to get out of those situations. But rather it's the lack of experience. We didn't push across any runs other than the homers, that's eight hits without a run."

    Thomas led off the fourth with his 21st home run and Belle followed with his 36th. The duo homered in the same game for the 12th time since Belle joined the White Sox last season.

    Anaheim's Orlando Palmeiro singled in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games.

    Notes

  • Angels third baseman Dave Hollins will undergo arthrocopic surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday and will be miss the rest of the season.
  • Jack McDowell will pitch Wednesday night, returning from a four-game suspension. McDowell began the suspension after being activated from the 60-day disabled list.
  • The Angels observed a pregame moment of silence in memory of Jim Murray , the Pulitzer Prize winning Los Angeles Times sportswriter who died late Sunday night.
  • Thomas and Belle have homered consecutively 12 times in two seasons, including six times this year.
  • Durham's error was Chicago's 111th, the second most in the AL behind Oakland's 118.

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