By Joe Christensen
1. Forget the hype. I didn’t see a rat all night. I also didn’t see the Rally Monkey. Angels didn’t need him.
2. The sellout crowd of 43,810 was late-arriving, even by L.A. standards, and a friend here speculated that people are choosing to eat at home. The rat factor again.
3. I’m a sucker for good music at the right times in ballparks, and when the Angels lineup gets introduced to Norman Greenbaum’s ”Spirit in the Sky,” it’s perfect.
4. That, incidentally, is the last time I’ll ever put Norm and Green and perfect in the same sentence.
5. Scott Baker was 5-2 with a 3.13 ERA in his previous nine starts, and he continues to show perspective beyond his 25 years.
“I’ve been pitching too well as of late to sit here and dwell on this,” he said. ”What can you do, you know? It’s just one of those things. It’s a funny game. I felt like I pitched Guerrero tough all night. And Izturis is the guy who gets the big hit. It’s a funny game.”
6. Rondell White returned to left field for the first time since April 4 and also delivered his first RBI since April 4. That two-out, run-scoring hit in the sixth inning was a huge lift for the Twins. Keep in mind, Kelvim Escobar is 12-6 and ranks second in the AL behind Dan Haren with his 2.74 ERA.
White went 1-for-4. He also hit a ball hard in the third inning, but shortstop Orlando Cabrera made a nice play in the hole and threw him out.
Defensively, White made a nifty leaping catch to rob Hill Murray’s own Robb Quinlan of extra bases in the eighth inning. But the Angels were obviously unafraid to test White’s arm. Chone Figgins went first-to-third on Cabrera’s single to left in the third inning which led directly to a run. Then the lumbering Guerrero scored from second easily on Jeff Mathis’ single to left in the seventh. All in all, though, I’m guessing if White stays healthy, Gardenhire will keep putting him in left field, hoping to rekindle last year’s second-half magic.
7. The Twins aren’t going to win many games when Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau both fail to get a hit, and that’s happened four times in the past six games.
8. Tommy Watkins made his major league debut, grounding out to second base after fouling off a couple pitches in the eighth inning.
9. Sorry to rub it in to La Velle, who begrudgingly let me have this trip, but a 76-degree night at Angel Stadium with almost no humidity or wind sure beats 97 with a heat index of 103 in KC.