Sunday, July 10, 2011
Angels 4, Mariners 2: Three Up, Three Down
By Mark Saxon
ANAHEIM -- Dan Haren outlasted Felix Hernandez in a taut pitchers' duel and Alberto Callaspo came up with a clutch two-run double to send the Angels into the All-Star break on a serious roll. Their 4-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday gave them a four-game sweep and was their 20th win in the last 27 games.
Pitching. Sometimes, great pitching matchups fizzle, which could easily have happened after Haren (10-5) gave up two runs in the first inning. But he got into a serious groove, as did Hernandez. The middle innings of the game were a desert of scoring. Twenty-one straight batters made outs before Torii Hunter's eighth-inning single. Mike Scioscia got booed when he took Haren out for closer Jordan Walden with two outs in the ninth and Haren got a standing ovation.
Kid dynamite. Mark Trumbo showed the Angels his massive power in spring training and now he's swinging with that kind of confidence again. Trumbo has homered in three straight games. His low liner into the left-field stands on a 92-mph Hernandez fastball tied the game in the fourth inning. Trumbo's 17 home runs are the most by an Angels rookie since Tim Salmon hit that many in 1993. Salmon was Rookie of the Year.
Callaspo music. For a while, Callaspo wasn't doing much that was worthwhile. He was in a 2-for-33 slump and playing sloppy defense. But he's gotten his swing together on this homestand, batting .353 after Sunday's 3-for-4 day. Eric Wedge decided to intentionally walk Howie Kendrick after David Pauley fell behind him 2-and-0 and Callaspo made that look foolish.
Trout flops. When you're in the major leagues at 19, you're going to make mistakes. Mike Trout made a couple in the first two innings, one of which cost the Angels a run. On Justin Smoak's deep fly ball, Trout threw to third instead of second, allowing Dustin Ackley to take an extra base. He then scored on Adam Kennedy's two-out single to left. Trout charged Kyle Seager's single the next inning and allowed it to get past him for a two-base error.
Umps. Boy, have they been inconsistent around here lately. Gerry Davis lost track of balls and strikes in the third inning, allowing Bobby Abreu to reach first base on a 3-and-1 walk. Amazingly, that was the second time in eight days the Mariners had given up a 3-ball walk. They lost their July 2 game to the San Diego Padres after Cameron Maybin walked on three balls and eventually scored.
Seattle support. Hernandez has given up two runs or fewer in 12 of his 20 starts this year, but he's somehow 8-8 at the All-Star break. At least somebody saw through that record, because Hernandez will pitch in the All-Star game. He's kind of this era's Nolan Ryan: dominating with a mediocre record, because he plays on bad teams.