Angels beat Giants 4-3 behind Saunders’ 6 Ks
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) – Hideki Matsui singled in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, Joe Saunders struck out a spring-best six and the Los Angeles Angels rallied to beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3 Saturday.
Torii Hunter tied it at 3 with an RBI double before Matsui singled to right, giving the Angels the lead for good against the team with the best overall record this spring. San Francisco is 19-8 and needs three more wins in its final eight games to post its best exhibition record since going 25-8 in 1964.
Saunders allowed three runs and a spring-high seven hits in 4 1-3 innings in his fourth start.
“I just tried to get ahead of guys. I thought I did a pretty job,” he said. “I feel like I’m right on track. My changeup was good. My fastball could’ve been better. It was a good battle.”
Making his final spring start, Barry Zito gave up four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings for the Giants. The left-hander retired seven consecutive batters during one stretch.
“I feel good, healthy. Everything is working pretty good,” he said. “I’ve just got to bust my (butt). It’s all I can say.”
Saunders retired eight of the first nine batters he faced. He worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth with three consecutive strikeouts.
“When the heat is on, you can treat it like a spring training game,” he said. “I thought, ‘Let’s try to get out of it and minimize damage.'”
The Giants again loaded the bases in the fifth, with Saunders sandwiching walks to Andres Torres and Pablo Sandoval around a single to Mark DeRosa. Bengie Molina hit a bases-clearing double against his former team, putting the Giants back in front, 3-2.
Bobby Abreu, who at 36 is the oldest player on the Angels’ 40-man roster, hit his second homer of the spring, giving Los Angeles a 2-0 lead in the third.
NOTES: Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he would wait a couple more days before announcing a starter for the season opener against Minnesota on April 5. … The Giants are in the midst of a stretch during which they play 20 straight games, including the regular season, before their next scheduled off day on April 8.