OAKLAND, Calif. As Ernesto Frieri buttoned his dress shirt and packed his bag for the flight to Seattle, he couldn't suppress a smile. He waited his entire big-league career for the chance he got Wednesday afternoon, and now that it was over, he looked ready to burst.
A save. That's what Frieri wanted when he came to the Angels in a trade with the San Diego Padres this month -- a chance to come into a close game and preserve a lead.
"I was so excited," he said at the end of the day. "I waited a long time with the Padres and they never game me a chance. The Angels trusted me a little bit more. I was ready for this."
Frieri is not quite the de facto closer for the Angels, but he, Scott Downs and Jordan Walden have become a kind of three-headed closer for a team that has turned a weakness into a strength. Those three each pitched one hitless, scoreless inning in a 3-1, 11-inning win over the Oakland A's.
Frieri struck out the side in the final inning for the save, his first in 11...