Peter Bourjos stays busy in center field, as Angels beat Mariners, 5-3
In addition to his leadoff home run in the sixth inning, which sparked a four-run rally that helped the Angels to a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners in Safeco Field Monday night, Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos was in the middle of two key defensive plays.
With one out in the bottom of the second inning, Seattle center fielder Franklin Gutierrez doubled off the left-field wall, a ball that Angels left fielder Bobby Abreu leaped for but couldn't catch.
The ball caromed off the wall and back toward the infield, but Bourjos provided excellent back-side help, chased the ball down and threw a one-hop bullet to third to nail Gutierrez, who was trying to stretch the hit into a triple. The play helped preserve a scoreless tie.
With Casey Kotchman at first in the ninth, Gutierrez hit a sinking liner to center that Bourjos appeared to have a bead on as he ran in and to his left. But the ball nicked off his glove and rolled to the warning track.
Bourjos, who now has seven outfield assists in one month in the big leagues after two on Monday, chased the ball down and overthrew cut-off man Howie Kendrick, the ball ticking off his glove and dribbling to shortstop Erick Aybar, who was backing up Kendrick. Kotchman held at third, but Gutierrez, thinking Kotchman had scored, raced around second and headed to third before stopping and heading back to second.
Juan Rivera, who only started playing first base last week, hustled from his cut-off position in the middle of the infield to second base and caught Aybar's throw just as Gutierrez got back to the bag. Rivera applied the tag for the first out of the inning.
"I just whiffed it," said Bourjos, who was surprised to learn that Gutierrez's liner, originally scored a two-base error, was changed to a double. "I thought it had backspin, and it sank like a knuckleball."
Though Kotchman scored on a wild pitch, closer Fernando Rodney got Michael Adams and Adam Moore to fly out, ending the game.
"Good heads-up play to get an out," Manager Mike Scioscia said of the Gutierrez play. "Juan made a really good read and got back to second base. It was a great reaction on his part."
--Mike DiGiovanna in Seattle
Photo: Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos running the bases against the Twins last week in Minnesota. Credit: Craig Lassig / EPA