ANAHEIM, Calif. -- For the second straight night the Los Angeles Angels’ offense and pitching decided to show up on the same night and once again displayed what kind of team the Angels could be when those two are on the same page (read: field).
The Angels defeated the Cleveland Indians, 8-4, winning back-to-back games and a series for the first time since July and in the process made up a game on Texas and Oakland -- which both lost Wednesday night -- in their American League West race.
Santana: After losing five straight starts earlier this season, and failing to even get out of the second inning in two of them, Ervin Santana is beginning to pitch like his old self again. The Angels are now 4-0 in his past four starts. Against the Indians on Wednesday, Santana pitched seven innings, giving up four hits and one run while striking out four. He was pitching a shutout heading into the sixth inning before Asdrubal Cabrera doubled to deep right to score Ezequiel Carrera.
Second inning: The Angels essentially put the game away in the second when they batted around the order, scoring five runs on five hits and three Cleveland errors. The five-run second inning matched the most runs the Angels have scored in the second frame this season. The only other time was back on April 12 against the Twins.
Morales: One of the Angels’ most consistent players during their slump has been Kendrys Morales, who was at his consistent best on Wednesday. He started the game 3-for-3 with three runs, including a double. Morales has been batting .321 with six home runs, 13 RBIs and a .736 slugging percentage during his past 13 games. Eleven of his past 20 hits have gone for extra bases (five doubles and six home runs.)
Bullpen: What? You thought the Angels could go one night without their bullpen imploding? The Angels might be improving, but some things are going to take more than a couple of games to correct. With the Angels holding an 8-1 lead going into the top of the eighth inning, Jason Isringhausen was brought in to relieve Santana. In true Angels bullpen form, he put two runners on base and proceeded to give up a three-run home run to Shin-Soo Choo, who powered to center to score Jack Hanahan and Jason Kipnis. Isringhausen pitched one inning, giving up three runs on two hits; not exactly the kind of line a team wants see from its reliever. Isringhausen’s inning didn’t cost the Angels the game but they’re not always going to be up by seven runs when they need their bullpen to get them through a couple of innings.
Hunter: It was a bad night for Torii Hunter at the plate in more ways than one. Not only did the outfielder go 0-for-3, he was tagged out as he tried to steal home in the fifth inning and knocked home plate umpire Greg Gibson out of the game in the process. As Hunter was sliding home, the heel of his cleat caught Gibson in the face and the umpire was momentarily knocked out. Gibson later got up with a large wound near his eyes. He was taken in for treatment and was replaced behind the plate by first base umpire Manny Gonzalez.
Pujols: After going hitless in 12 at-bats in the Seattle series, Albert Pujols was 4-for-8 in his past two games, with a double, two home runs and six RBIs. It only made sense for the Angels to continue to ride Pujols’ hot bat, right? Angels manager Mike Scioscia instead decided to sit his All-Star slugger. “I’m just trying to recharge his legs,” Scioscia said. “He’ll get back in there tomorrow.” He can only hope that the day off didn’t cool off Pujols’ streaky hot bat.