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Friday, August 19, 2011
Angels 8, Orioles 3: Three Up, Three Down

By Mark Saxon

ANAHEIM -- Torii Hunter homered twice and drove in five runs to help the Angels beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-3 Friday night and stay six games back of the first-place Texas Rangers.

The Good:

Fast start. One of the real drags on this season has been the Angels' inability to score early, but they jumped all over Jo-Jo Reyes before he could get settled. The first four batters had hits, with Torii Hunter's high drive for a three-run home run opening things up.

Torii's tear. Hunter refuses to say the Angels are out of contention and, if everyone were hitting like he is, they wouldn't be. He's batting .428 this month and riding a 17-game hitting streak. His first home run eked into the left-field stands, but the second one soared into the home bullpen.

So-So Haren. Maybe Dan Haren forgot what it's like to pitch with a big lead, because he hasn't had one often this season. He kept letting the Orioles creep back in it, but then again he kept them from jumping back in it. Haren pitched out of a lot of jams and gave up nine hits, but he got his seventh win in his last eight decisions.

The Bad:

Tightrope walking. This game wasn't as drama-free as the score would suggest. The Orioles, who are 28 1/2 games out of first place, had plenty of chances to tighten things up and, true to their record, wasted them. The Angels' pitchers didn't exactly tuck this one away. Reliever Scott Downs had to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam he created. The Orioles had just as many hits, 12, as the Angels.

Rare hit. The Angels brought up Hank Conger recently to add a little spark to their offense. When Bobby Wilson poked a single into left field in the fourth inning, it was the first hit by an Angels catcher in five games. See why Conger's here?

Walk this way. Not that Fernando Rodney was in position to do much damage in this game, pitching with a five-run lead, but if you've been pitching in the major leagues since 2002, shouldn't you know how to throw a strike? Rodney came in and threw four straight balls to issue a leadoff walk to Nick Markakis. That's five minutes of our lives none us will ever get back.