Trio of three-run taters pacesAngels

Trio of three-run taters pace Angels

NEW YORK -- The Angels must hate to see July end.

One of the most productive months in franchise history came to a close with another rousing triumph on Thursday night, a 12-6 thumping of the Yankees. Torii Hunter, Juan Rivera and Vladimir Guerrero each unloaded three-run homers in front of 53,405 at Yankee Stadium.

Garret Anderson and Chone Figgins cracked four hits apiece, and Mark Teixeira joined the party on his second day with the club.

Hitless in his debut, against the Red Sox, Teixeira delivered a pair of singles, scoring and driving in his first runs with the Angels while making a dazzling ninth-inning diving play behind one by Figgins at third to short-circuit a Yankees rally.

"This team is so good," Teixeira said, grinning. "I hated playing against this team when I was with the Rangers. I'm just having fun being here right now. I know I'll get in my game."

Jon Garland advanced to 10-6 with the win, holding the Bombers to three runs across six innings. It was the 15th time in 22 starts he'd made it through the sixth. Andy Pettitte slipped to 12-8 with the loss, absorbing a pounding just as Josh Beckett had on Wednesday night in Boston.

The Angels finish the month winning 19 of 25 games, their second-best July ever. Their 68-40 record is the best in the Majors and the best in franchise history after 108 games.

The runaway American League West leaders have a 12 1/2-game lead over the Rangers, the biggest in franchise history. They have won eight of nine and 13 of the past 15, averaging 6.4 runs per game in July -- the second highest for a month in club history. They produced more homers (36) than in any month since June 2003, when they cracked 42.

Anderson batted .384 for the month with five homers and 22 RBIs, finishing with consecutive four-hit efforts. Hunter produced nine homers and 21 RBIs in July.

"You look at these guys and what they've done in their careers. Once we start hitting, we're going to fill a park with line drives," Anderson said, having scattered them all over the hallowed grounds in the Bronx. "Most of the guys on this team are line-drive hitters, and it keeps pressure on that pitcher.

"He makes that one mistake, and someone might hit it out of the park."

Pettitte made mistakes with Hunter and Rivera in the space of four batters in the third inning. Hunter went the other way, to right-center, and Rivera lifted a monster blast to left out by Monument Park.

The mistake to Guerrero was provided in the sixth by reliever Chris Britton, who felt the sting of a blast to left that was No. 18 for the right fielder, matching Hunter for the club lead. Guerrero and Hunter also share the club lead with 58 RBIs, one more than Anderson.

It was Figgins, as is his custom, who ignited the Angels in the third with his single. Teixeira's first Angels hit, an infield single, and his first steal of the season had two men in scoring position for Hunter, who let them stroll home in front of him when he lashed a ball into the seats.

"We actually worked the count," Hunter said. "Early in the season, we were swinging at everything. We got Pettitte -- and he's one of the best lefties in the game.

"When guys are going good, they're driving the ball the other way. You don't ask questions. [You] just come to the park every day and try to stay there."

The three-run hole Hunter created for Pettitte quickly got deeper, as singles by Anderson and Howie Kendrick preceded Rivera's shot.

Bobby Abreu's 14th homer of the season, in the fourth, stirred the home crowd, and a two-out triple by Melky Cabrera and an RBI single by Johnny Damon (coupled with a two-base error by Guerrero) made it 6-2 in the fifth.

The Angels sent Pettitte (5 1/3 innings, nine earned runs) to the showers in the sixth. After Jeff Mathis' double, Figgins' RBI single and a walk to Erick Aybar, Guerrero joined the mash unit with his towering drive off Britton.

Figgins' single, Aybar's RBI triple to the right-center gap, and Teixeira's line-drive RBI single to left finished the scoring in the eighth.

His athletes 37-19 are on the road, steamrolling everything put in front of them, but manager Mike Scioscia doesn't seem surprised by recent events, including wins in six of seven games on this East Coast trip.

"I don't think home runs are a fluke," Scioscia said. "Our offense, at its best, is multidimensional. Out of the gate, we were driving the ball well, then we just hit the skids.

"We pressured these guys a ton, and that's what we need to do. We've been doing a lot of good things on the bases and at the plate."

Scioscia continues to be an unwelcome guest in the Bronx. Since he assumed command of the Angels in 2000, his teams are 39-33 against the Yankees in the regular season and 7-2 in postseason play.

Yankees skipper Joe Girardi now knows how his predecessor, Joe Torre, felt in trying to contain the Anaheim Express.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.