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Angels Win Wacky One

A twilight game right out of "The Twilight Zone."

The weirdness finally ended when Jim Edmonds scored from third on a wild pitch in the ninth inning Sunday to give the Anaheim Angels their eighth straight victory, 6-5 over the Colorado Rockies.

Along the way:

Anaheim outfielder Darin Erstad lost what would have been the game-ending fly out in the lights and early evening haze, allowing the Rockies to tie it in the top of the ninth.

Colorado's last catcher, Jeff Reed, left when his face was gashed in a home plate collision with the Angels' Dave Hollins in the bottom of the ninth. Shortstop Neifi Perez then was forced behind the plate for the first time in his major league career.

Teammate Larry Walker, who began the inning in his usual right field spot, then played second base and third base for the first time in his career.

Reed, who had to have 12 stitches in his right cheek, was the second casualty of the game. Anaheim second baseman Justin Baughman left in the seventh inning when a routine-looking line drive struck him in the face. He required stitches for the cut on his upper lip.

"What a weird game. That ninth inning was amazing," said Rich DeLucia, one of three Anaheim relievers in the inning. "That's what makes baseball exciting; it was a completely normal game for eight innings, then, `Boom!"

Angels starter Jarrod Washburn, who made his major league debut last Tuesday, has seen a lot in his two appearances his first game was Anaheim's brawl-marred 7-5 victory at Kansas City last week.

"Some day, maybe I'll get to throw in just a normal game," Washburn said, shaking his head and smiling.

Edmonds also was shaking his head when he said of the 5 p.m. game, "This would never have happened if we had started at 1."

Edmonds, who had doubled and gone to third on the throw home that nailed Hollins, scored when Jerry DiPoto (1-2) threw a slider in the dirt for a wild pitch and new catcher Perez couldn't block it.

"I used to catch in Little League, but there's a lot of difference between Little League and the big leagues," Perez said. "That was a hard slider and I tried to do the best I could."

He was forced into duty after Reed was hurt and emergency catchers Greg Colbrunn (DH) and Jason Bates (pinch-hitter in the ninth) were out of the game. Reed had pinch hit for starting catcher Kirt Manwaring in the ninth.

"I knew there was no way (Reed could continue), then all of a sudden, you have to think about who you can get to catch," Colorado manager Don Baylor said. "You're looking for somebody with good hands, and Neifi came to mind.

"I had more than enough volunteers. ... So it's one wild pitch and the game's over."

Colorado, whch had trailed 5-0, came all the way back to tie it at 5 in the ninth when Erstad, attempting to catch Dante Bichette's high fly to left, lost the ball and was 20 feet away from it when it fell for a two-run double.

Hollins led off the Angels' ninth with a walk off DiPoto and Edmonds followed with a double off the fence in right-center. Hollins was cut down at the plate on a perfect relay throw by Perez.

After Tim Salmon was walked intentionally, DiPoto bounced his 0-1 pitch to Cecil Fielder.

Greg Cadaret (1-0) got the win in relief.

Washburn pitched 6 1-3 strong innings, allowing three runs and nine hits.

Erstad had three hits for Anaheim. Ellis Burks went 4-for-5 and Vinny Castilla had three hits for the Rockies.

Notes: Colorado starter Jamey Wright went eight innings, giving up five runs, one earned, on nine hits. He was coming off a 6-0 loss to Arizona in which he was pounded for eight hits and seven runs in just four innings. ... The Angels' sweep was their first against an NL team. ... Washburn wasn't exactly overpowering in the minors this season: he was 2-1 with a 3.70 ERA at Triple-A Vancouver after going 0-1 with a 6.23 in one start at Double-A Midland. ... Erstad has reached base safely in 53 of 60 games he's played this year.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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