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Angels 5, Athletics 2

June 21, 1997

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Kevin Gross, making his debut with Anaheim, won as a starter for the first time in almost a year and Tim Salmon hit a three-run homer Friday night in the Angels’ 5-2 win over the Oakland Athletics.

Gross (1-0) allowed four hits in 5 2-3 innings, struck out seven and walked five in his first major league start since last Aug. 8 with Texas. It was the 15-year veteran’s first win as a starter since last July 1 _ also at Anaheim.

Pep Harris pitched 2 1-3 hitless innings and Troy Percival worked the ninth for his sixth save. Gross and the two relievers combined to hold the A’s without a hit over the final 5 2-3 innings.

Gross began the season with the Rangers’ Triple-A club in Oklahoma City before being released on May 1. The Angels signed him to a minor league contract on June 5 and recalled him from Triple-A Vancouver on Friday.

Salmon, who never made it to the ballpark on Thursday because of the flu, gave the Angels a 3-0 lead with his 11th homer. It came after a two-out walk to Dave Hollins and an error by first baseman Mark McGwire on Jack Howell’s high chopper.

Gross struck out five of the first nine batters, but the A’s scored twice off him in the third on Jason Giambi’s RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Matt Stairs.

Anaheim center fielder Garret Anderson started a spectacular double play in the fourth inning.

Anderson, who beat the A’s with a two-run single in the ninth Thursday, robbed Williams of a two-run homer in left-center and threw all the way to first on a bounce to double up Dave Magadan and preserve the Angels’ 3-2 lead.

Salmon had both of the hits Don Wengert (3-5) allowed over the first 5 1-3 innings. The right-hander gave up five hits and five runs in eight innings.

The Angels increased their lead to 5-2 in the sixth with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Anderson and an RBI single by Jim Leyritz.

Giambi, playing for the first time in eight games because of a strained right quadriceps, extended his hitting streak to a career-high 23 games. He is one game shy of tying Carney Lansford for the longest streak since the team moved from Kansas City to Oakland in 1968.

Notes: With his familiar No. 46 already being worn by Mike James, Gross selected No. 44 from a choice of 10 numbers offered by Anaheim equipment manager Ken Higdon. Oddly, Gross entered his Angels debut with a 44-44 record since pitching a no-hitter for the Dodgers in August 1993. ... The Angels could face Hideo Nomo again at Anaheim Stadium on July 3 if the Dodgers’ rotation doesn’t change. ``If I had to face him every night, I’d probably be back home building houses with my brother,″ said Hollins, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against Nomo on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.

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