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  Tuesday, Sep. 12 10:05pm ET
'Little' Angels come up big in victory

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The bottom third of the Anaheim Angels' lineup stepped up, while the middle of the order had a sub-par night at the plate.

Adam Kennedy drove in three runs, Bengie Molina had three hits and Benji Gil had two RBI -- including a suicide squeeze bunt -- as the Angels beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 5-2 Tuesday night.

"We can't always get the middle of the lineup to do what they've done all year. And for us to get through this grind, and through the rest of the season, it's important for contributions to come from all areas," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Tonight we played some 'little ball,' and it paid off."

It was a tough night for the only 30-homer foursome in AL history. Mo Vaughn, Tim Salmon, Garret Anderson and Troy Glaus went a combined 3-for-13 with three walks and no RBI.

"Those guys have been carrying us all year long, but they aren't going to do it every night. So it was nice to pick them up and be a factor in the game," Kennedy said. "The offense had been stalling a little bit the last three nights, so we take a lot of pride coming through like that."

Tim Belcher (4-2) sent the Devil Rays to their fourth straight loss, allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings. The right-hander, making his sixth start since returning from the 60-day disabled list Sept. 7, struck out one and walked one. Belcher has missed most of his 14th major league season because of elbow problems.

"I would like to think that I would have had a very solid year if I'd been healthy," Belcher said. "I obviously don't like the thought that I've only thrown 26 innings, but if I can finish the season healthy and if we remain in the hunt and get back in this pennant race, I'll feel good about that."

After being held to only one run over their previous three games at Oakland, the Devil Rays grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second. Greg Vaughn, who entered the game with a season-low .254 average, followed a leadoff single by Fred McGriff with his 27th homer.

The home run was the first by the Devil Rays since Vaughn's last Friday night at Oakland, and only their sixth in 16 games. But Belcher retired the next 11 batters and allowed only three more singles, including a bunt by Randy Winn.

"He kept the ball down, moved the ball in and out and made good pitches when he had to," Tampa Bay's Gerald Williams said. "When he goes out there, you pretty much know what you're going to get. You're going to get a competitor."

Shigetoshi Hasegawa pitched a perfect eighth and Troy Percival walked one in the ninth for his 29th save in 38 chances.

Anderson ignited the winning rally in the seventh with a leadoff single against starter Bryan Rekar (6-10). One out later, Molina singled and Kennedy drove a 1-0 pitch to center field past Williams for his 10th triple of the season and a 3-2 lead.

"You have to give Kennedy credit. He put a good swing on a pitch that he could handle, and it was a good clutch hit," Williams said.

Kennedy scored two pitches later as Rekar fielded Gil's sacrifice bunt and threw him out. Three straight walks, including two by Doug Creek, loaded the bases before Tony Fiore came in and struck out Salmon.

Kennedy drove in the final run with an RBI single in the eighth.

Rekar was charged with four runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking three. The right-hander held Anaheim hitless until Glaus and Molina opened the fifth inning with singles. Glaus advanced to third on Kennedy's fly to right and scored on Gil's squibber to McGriff at first base.

Game notes
The Angels announced that manager Mike Scioscia's entire coaching staff has been retained for 2001. ... The Devil Rays, who did not draw a single walk in their four-game series at Oakland, finally ended their drought when Belcher lost McGriff on a 3-1 count with two outs in the sixth. It ended a streak of 168 consecutive at-bats by Tampa Bay without a base on balls since McGriff's one-out walk in the fifth inning last Thursday night at Cleveland. ... The Angels have allowed 212 home runs, tying the Chicago Cubs for second-most allowed in the majors behind Kansas City's 215. ... McGriff, whose RBI drought reached 14 games, is six shy of his fifth career 100-RBI season. ... Mo Vaughn struck out in the first inning to raise his season total to 161, second-most in the majors and five more than the previous Angels club record set by Reggie Jackson in 1982. Vaughn, Glaus (142) and Salmon (129) have combined to strike out 432 times, more than half the total of six other major league teams. ... Greg Vaughn is three homers away from joining McGriff and Jose Canseco as the only players in major league history to hit at least 30 homers in a season with four different teams.

Baseball Scoreboard

Tampa Bay Clubhouse

Anaheim Clubhouse

Texas 9
Baltimore 1

Texas 6
Baltimore 5

(2nd game)

Boston 8
Cleveland 6

NY Yankees 10
Toronto 2

Detroit 10
Chi. White Sox 3

Anaheim 5
Tampa Bay 2

Oakland 5
Minnesota 3

Seattle 11
Kansas City 3

Chicago Cubs 2
Cincinnati 1

Montreal 1
Philadelphia 0

St. Louis 11
Pittsburgh 1

NY Mets 10
Milwaukee 2

Florida 5
Atlanta 4

San Francisco 9
Houston 5

Arizona 5
Los Angeles 4

Colorado 6
San Diego 3