Los Angeles Angels
both got their seasons back on track in the same afternoon.
And as usual around the Angels,
had something to do with every positive development.
Hunter hit an early two-run homer, Saunders pitched five effective innings in his return to the rotation and Los Angeles snapped
its three-game skid with a 4-2 victory over the
Hunter, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games, claims he threw a tantrum over his AL West-leading team's slump of five
losses in six games. The Angels' clubhouse leader has a hit in every game since returning from a month on the disabled list
last week, and he reached base three times as Los Angeles managed to remain the only major league team without four straight
losses this season.
''I was just hoping the guys were upset, because I was upset,'' Hunter said. ''We have a pretty good team. Traveling back
from the East Coast (last Sunday), we were just trying to find our way, but we were able to capitalize on their mistakes.''
Hunter's first-inning shot off
(10-6), his 18th of the season, provided a valuable cushion for Saunders, who looked good after a 2 1/2-week regimen of massage,
electrotherapy and a cortisone shot to get some life back in his sore shoulder.
''I think that early home run helped Joe relax,'' Angels manager
said. ''That's certainly the most consistent velocity I've seen all year from Joe.''
Saunders (10-7) was cool in the 97-degree Orange County heat while making his first start since Aug. 7, after which he went
on the disabled list. The left-hander had struggled for over a month before his DL stint, but the Angels' opening day starter
allowed four hits while striking out six.
''It was nice to be able to throw the ball without any hint of tightness,'' Saunders said. ''My arm was free, and I just let
it go. ... I look back on (the struggles) and say I should have done this a little earlier, but it's my fault. Hopefully if
it ever happens again, I'll step up and say something.''
added run-scoring hits for the Angels, who avoided being swept at home for the first time since June 2007 and prevented Detroit's
first road sweep of the Angels since August 1993. Manufacturing runs with their usual mix of hits, walks and sharp baserunning,
Los Angeles capitalized on Jackson's high leg kick to steal five bases, matching a season high.
''They got a couple of runs early with the home run, then they got two bleeders to get another run on me,'' said Jackson,
who yielded eight hits and four walks in 6 1-3 innings during his first loss in seven starts since July 19. ''That's what
a good team does. They find a way to get runs, whether it's hard-hit balls or well-placed balls.''
Figgins even appeared to steal home after Hunter's strikeout in the seventh inning, but third-base umpire Chad Fairchild had
called time on the field.
Four Los Angeles relievers collaborated on four scoreless innings. In his first appearance in eight days, closer
hit two batters but hung on for his 36th save in 41 chances.
hit a two-run homer for the AL Central-leading Tigers, who had won eight of 12. Detroit still earned an impressive series
victory before opening a key four-game home set with Tampa Bay.
''Going into the game, I felt like we'd score more runs, but I tip my hat to Saunders,'' Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.
''He pitched good. Mike (Scioscia) made us look at a different relief pitcher every inning, which was pretty smart. I thought
we might hit a couple of homers today. I was not anticipating Everett would be one of them.''
Everett halved the Angels' lead in the fifth with just his third homer of the season, the light-hitting shortstop's first
since June 10.
extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a sixth-inning double, but went 1 for 4.
NOTES: The Tigers sent RHP
back to Triple-A Toledo for a 10-day stint to rest his inflamed pitching elbow.
, out since late June with a left elbow injury, will be recalled to start for Detroit on Saturday. ... Umpire Tim Welke missed
his second straight game after getting hit in the mask with a foul tip Monday night. Delfin Colon again replaced him. ...
's fifth-inning single was his 1,000th hit with the Angels. He's the eighth player to get 1,000 hits in the franchise's 49