Final Score in St. Petersburg: Angels 6, Rays 3
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday Monster Truck Rally! Bobby Abreu hit two solo homers, Peter Bourjos added one worth three runs, and Hideki Matsui pitched in with an RBI double as the Angels pounded the recently helpless Jeff Niemann, whom they also tagged for 10 earned runs last month in Anaheim. Abreu's second homer, which actually came off of Jeremy Hellickson, ricocheted about 50 feet up the back wall at Tropicana Field. So the old man can still hit a little bit.
Scott Kazmir actually earned his first win since August 7. It was a pretty typical Kazmir start: 103 pitches over 5 innings with 8 base runners allowed, but with Mark Gubicza cheering on his "phenomenal" 88-mph fastball, he skated by while only giving up a solo homer to Kelly Shoppach. Keep your eyes peeled for official quotes about Kaznobyl "taking a step forward," "making good progress," and so on. He did strike out four batters this time around, but keep in mind that the Rays are the strikeouting-est team in the American League.
The most interesting development was Scioscia's vote of no confidence in Fernando Rodney. Michael Kohn made a mess of the ninth inning, trimming the 6-2 lead to 6-3 with two outs, thereby triggering the automatic "bring in the closer to earn a save" condition in Mike Scioscia's pitching management flowchart. But instead of turning to Fraudney for the final perfunctory out, he passed the ball to Jordan Walden. Maybe he was just giving the Fraud a "rest" after pitching in two consecutive games, but you have to wonder. While I'm still not ready to welcome Walden as my new game-saving overlord just yet, I would let my non-ambulant grandmother close games before she conclusively proved to be worse than Fernando Rodney.