ANAHEIM, Calif. - Paul Byrd got his first win in more than 1½ months. Darin Erstad hit his first home run in almost two months and Vladimir Guerrero hit his first home run in nearly three weeks.
Guerrero hit his 300th career homer Friday night in the Angels’ 4-1 win over the Seattle Mariners, which kept Los Angeles tied with Oakland for the AL West lead.
“It means a lot to do it at home. I really wanted to do it here for the fans,” Guerrero said through a translator. “I never had a doubt that eventually it was going to come. Now I don’t have to think about it anymore. I think it looked like I was even more anxious because I always swing at bad pitches, anyway. So it looked even worse because I was swinging at even worse pitches.”
Garret Anderson’s sacrifice fly put the Angels ahead 2-1 in the fifth, and Guerrero followed with a solo shot off Jamie Moyer for his first home run in 58 at-bats since Aug. 14. Last year’s AL MVP became the 11th player to hit 300 homers before his 30th birthday, joining a group that includes Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Mel Ott, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Jimmie Foxx and Eddie Mathews.
“It feels pretty special, because those are guys that I’ve heard were tremendous players,” Guerrero said. “To be in that company is very meaningful.”
Byrd (10-9) won for the first time in eight starts since July 15, allowing one run and five hits in eight innings. He is 6-0 with a 1.52 ERA against the Mariners.
“It took me a long time,” Byrd said. “I was pressing a little too hard, but tonight I just tried to go out there and relax. It feels good to go out there and give a good performance. My last couple have been poor, and it was weighing on me. It’s no fun to be in a pennant race and not giving the team quality starts, so I was glad to turn it around tonight.”
Francisco Rodriguez got three outs for his 33rd save 38 attempts.
Moyer (11-6) allowed four runs in 6 1-3 innings and gave up 10 hits, matching his season high. He is 3-6 on the road and 8-0 at home.
“They put the pressure on you, so you just try to keep them from gaining momentum. But tonight I wasn’t able to do that,” said Moyer, who has allowed more than four earned runs only once in his last 18 starts.
Erstad made it 4-1 in the sixth with his fifth homer, his first in 196 at-bats since July 4. Moyer has allowed only 18 homers in 172 1-3 innings this season, down from a major league-high 44 last year. Guerrero has four homers against the 42-year-old left-hander in 22 career at-bats.
Seattle broke on top in the first on Richie Sexson’s two-out RBI double. It scored Ichiro Suzuki, who bunted for a hit on Byrd’s second pitch of the game, stole second and advanced on a groundout. The Angels, who wasted a two-out double in each of the first two innings, tied it in the third on an RBI single by Orlando Cabrera.
“I didn’t want to be down 1-0, but our team did a great job of scoring for me,” Byrd said. “Moyer usually does real well against us, so I think it’s a good sign that we scored four off him. That’s a credit to our offense. We can score in many different ways. I was really excited for Vlade. He’s really fun to watch. You don’t want to miss any of his at-bats.”
Suzuki went 2-for-4 for his 50th multihit game.
Robb Quinlan played his second straight game at third base for the Angels in place of Maicer Izturis, expected to be out at least another 7-10 days because of a deep bruise in his right quadriceps.
Notes: Anderson doubled in the first inning, breaking Tim Salmon’s franchise record of 643 extra-base hits. Salmon, who has missed the entire season while recovering from surgery on his left shoulder and left knee, also saw his club records for RBIs and total bases eclipsed by Anderson this year. ... The Angels purchased the contract of INF Zach Sorensen from Triple-A Salt Lake and requested unconditional release waivers on LHP Tim Bittner.
HBT: Carlos Ruiz was lifted from Sunday afternoon’s game against the Reds after straining his right hamstring while running the bases in the bottom of the second inning.
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