With Anderson streaking along, team is happy to follow his lead


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Brady Anderson opened Friday night's game with a triple and it only got better from there for the Orioles, who have been leaning heavily on their leadoff hitter of late.

Anderson went 3-for-4, scored three runs, drove in a run, walked and stole a base, leading the Orioles to a 9-2 victory over the California Angels.

Anderson extended his hitting streak to 10 games, during which he has batted .476 with 12 runs, four doubles, two triples, two home runs, 12 RBIs and six stolen bases.

Anderson pushed his season total to 24 stolen bases in 25 attempts, making it 20 consecutive steals without getting caught. During the 10-game stretch, Anderson has raised his batting average with runners in scoring position from .121 to .200, by going 8-for-14 in the clutch.

It was not a perfect night for Anderson, who jammed the middle finger of his left hand sliding into second on his third-inning steal. Anderson's status last night was in jeopardy until close to game time, when he determined he could play.

"I think going head-first is a little quicker for me," Anderson said.

Obviously it works.

Anderson, who took a .270 batting average and .368 on-base percentage out of Friday's game, reached base in each of his first four trips to the plate.

He had plenty of help offensively. Chris Sabo contributed his ninth home run with Anderson on in the fifth and Rafael Palmeiro doubled twice and drove in a pair of runs. Sabo homered for the third time in four games.

Orioles left-hander Sid Fernandez (6-4) allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings, and did not allow a hit until one out into the fifth inning.

The victory was the Orioles' 14th in 19 games.

"It's exciting," Orioles manager Johnny Oates said. "I think they're having fun and they should be. They're starting to feel they are in a pennant race."

They're starting to feel they are in a pennant race."

And it's a different feeling than in the previous two seasons.

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