ANAHEIM -- Dan Haren threw a two-hitter and outdueled the Tigers' Justin Verlander in a pristine pitching matchup and the Angels (46-41) took the second game of their series with Detroit (45-42) to win four straight games for the first time since April.
Howie Kendrick scored the Angels' only run on the night, coming around all the way from first on a leg-it-out double by Erick Aybar in the second inning.
Haren. Are we sure the American League players made the right choice in not selecting Haren to next week's All-Star Game in Phoenix? After his latest start lowered his ERA to 2.66 and gave him his 100th career win, it'd be hard to construct an argument detailing why he doesn't deserve to go. He completely shut down a talented, tough Tigers lineup Tuesday, striking out nine hitters and only going three batters over the minimum. He's now seventh among AL starters in ERA, and five of the six pitchers in front of him earned All-Star nods.
Smart baserunning. OK, maybe not so much smart -- it was risky -- but successful baserunning. After reaching base via an infield single in the bottom of the second, Kendrick ran all the way home from first on a double to right by Aybar. It doesn't sound nearly as impressive as it was, but Aybar's hit probably wouldn't have gone for more than a single had Kendrick not been going home on the play. When that's the winning margin in a victory over a solid team like the Tigers, that's a reason to celebrate.
More good defense. Left fielder Vernon Wells made a superb running grab in the left-center gap of a Jhonny Peralta drive in the second inning. Center fielder Peter Bourjos caught a to-the-wall fly ball from Victor Martinez with two outs in the fourth after just missing an Austin Jackson gapper in the third. First baseman Mark Trumbo saved a single or a double with his diving stop of another Martinez hit in the seventh inning. The Angels' defenders are making their pitchers look even better with their play in the field of late.
Bases loaded, no outs, no runs. One of the cardinal sins of baseball is getting into the optimum situation and not coming away with anything to show for it. In the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday, Aybar, Trumbo and Bourjos all got aboard in succession, setting the table for the anemic-hitting Jeff Mathis to potentially drive in some runs in a 1-0 game. But Mathis struck out swinging, despite being staked out to a 2-0 count by Verlander, and Maicer Izturis, following him, popped out in the infield. Torii Hunter took Verlander all the way to 3-2 and fouled off a payoff pitch before lining one right to Austin Jackson in center as the Angels failed to give Haren any sort of insurance runs as he went into the later innings.
Abreu's anger. Designated hitter Bobby Abreu was ejected in the bottom of the first inning after arguing a called third strike with home-plate umpire Angel Campos, becoming the first Angel ejected in 2011. It was also Abreu's first in-game ejection since August of 2007, when he played for the New York Yankees. The call from Campos looked a bit premature, at best, as Abreu wasn't even facing him when the you're-outta-here signal was made and didn't appear to be all that incensed.
Double plays. The Angels' two leaders in hitting into double plays, Hunter and Kendrick, each did it again Tuesday, and they're creeping up the league-leader list in an undesirable category. Hunter grounded into a typical one of the 6-4-3 variety in the eighth inning; Kendrick hit a Verlander pitch pretty well in the sixth but unluckily lined into one at first base. Hunter is now just one behind Boston's Adrian Gonzalez for the league lead with 19 GIDP's, and Kendrick has hit into 14 for sixth place. It would have made some sense to have Hunter bunt in the eighth inning to move Izturis over to second for Russell Branyan in the 3-hole, but manager Mike Scioscia elected not to and paid the price.