wasn't kidding when he said things are going to change around the Angels' clubhouse.
The first salvo came after Friday night's 11-6 victory over the
San Diego Padres
, when slumping second baseman
was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake because of his .231 batting average.
, who started in place of him, tied a career high with four of the Angels' 18 hits.
Scioscia held an edgy closed-door meeting with his players following Thursday night's embarrassing 11-1 defeat to the Rays
- their fourth in five games.
''We weren't happy about some of the things we saw in the last couple of games in Tampa, and they were addressed by a lot
of guys,'' Scioscia said. ''There's some real leadership in this room, and these guys sensed it. They talked some things out
and played a great ballgame tonight. We did a lot of great things on that field and we didn't let up. We need to get back
into that grind mode.''
The two-time defending AL West champions, who trail first-place Texas by 4 1/2 games, responded quickly after their manager's
challenge. In the first inning, they scored three runs - and it took only three batters to do it.
hit the first of his three RBI singles, and
homered into the left-field bullpen.
''Mike aired us out and got on our butts, and we came out today with a little more fire,'' Hunter said. ''The timing was right.
We needed that. You can't get used to losing. And tonight we looked like the team we're supposed to be. We should be like
this day in and day out. Mike said the right things and we took heed to it. We tried to leave it all on the field tonight
and not be too laid-back. That's what we were doing in Tampa and Detroit.''
The mood in the clubhouse was quiet despite the victory because of Kendrick's departure. Hunter, whose locker is right next
to his, spoke with the four-year veteran privately before addressing reporters.
''I just talked to him about my experiences getting sent down in 1997 and '98,'' Hunter said. ''Every time I got sent down,
I got upset and got a little more fire because I wanted to get back to the major leagues to stay. And that's what he's going
to do. This can't do anything but hopefully tick him off and give him a lot more fire.''
Scioscia doesn't expect Kendrick to be in the minors for long, but he felt this decision was necessary.
''We feel it's time for Howie to go down and just take a little pressure off of him, let him exhale a little bit, get some
at-bats and find his swing,'' the manager said. ''Hopefully it's going to be a big turnaround, but it's tough to search for
it up here. I know he's pressing.''
also homered for the Angels and
had three RBI singles in support of right-hander
(6-0), who allowed four runs - three earned - and 10 hits over six innings in his first start since May 30.
Palmer was put back in the rotation after Scioscia and pitching coach
didn't have the stamina to start regularly again after recovering from shoulder surgery last July, and moved him to the bullpen
(2-5) gave up eight runs and 10 hits over three-plus innings in his ninth start this season and seventh on the road.
''My velocity was there and my location was there, but they hit it where we weren't,'' Gaudin said. ''I threw a hanging slider
to Hunter, which was a bad pitch, but the fastball to Morales was a good pitch. If I had the same situation, I'd throw the
Los Angeles broke a 4-all tie with five runs in the fourth, including Morales' leadoff homer.
was 3 for 4 with a two-run homer.
NOTES: For the first time, Hall of Famer
broadcast a major league game his son played in. Tony Jr. was 1 for 3 with two walks for San Diego, flied out with the bases
loaded in the second and committed a fielding error in center field. ''He doesn't worry about his dad's legacy. He's just
trying to establish himself - and for me, that's been a lot of fun to watch,'' the eight-time NL batting champ said. ... The
Padres were 3-15 last year against the AL.