Dog days take their toll

Scioscia returns for victory

The good news for the Angels as they head into their first day off after 24 consecutive days of playing is that they won 14 games in the grueling stretch, including a split with New York, a series win in Boston and a sweep of the Mariners. The bad news is that they lost four games in the standings to the first-place A's.

As the Angels finally get a day off Monday, manager Mike Scioscia said the team played "remarkably well" during the stretch.

Their performance Sunday was especially pleasing to Scioscia, who returned from a three-game suspension.

Missing second baseman Adam Kennedy as they went for the four-game sweep over Seattle, the Angelse were also without ace relievers Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez, who both pitched in the first three games of the series.

Even short-handed, the Angels rallied for a come-from-behind 3-2 victory when Chone Figgins plated Reggie Willits with a single in the bottom of the ninth.

The victory went to righty Brendan Donnelly who was a strong fill-in for the missing back end of the bullpen, delivering 1.2 innings of scoreless work while missing the strike zone just once in 13 pitches.

"But the off-day is much needed," Scioscia said.

When the Angels resume play Tuesday, they'll be trying to make up a 4 1/2-game deficit to the A's while hosting the Red Sox and Yankees for three games each.

The club will still have the services of Donnelly, who decided to appeal his suspension which was slated to begin Tuesday.

With Joe Saunders giving the all-clear after fatigue in his last start and Kennedy returning to the lineup, the club will be at full strength to start the critical run.

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