Friday, September 9, 2011
Angels 2, Yankees 1: Three Up, Three Down
By Mark Saxon
ANAHEIM -- The Angels found a way to win a game they desperately needed.
Maicer Izturis, pinch-hitting in the ninth inning, produced the game-winning RBI for the second straight game as the Angels beat the New York Yankees 2-1 in front of 41,014 fans at Angel Stadium Friday. The win kept the Angels 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Texas Rangers, who beat the Oakland A's 13-4 earlier.
He's back. Jered Weaver's Cy Young-caliber season veered off the road about a month ago, but Friday he steered it back into the correct lane. Weaver was masterful through eight innings, striking out 11 Yankees, and allowing just one run -- on Jesus Montero's long solo home run -- on three hits. Coming into this start, Weaver had a 6.67 ERA since Aug. 5.
He's back II. Howie Kendrick has been the most slump-resistant Angel this season, but his time finally arrived. Kendrick was in an 0-for-18 skid before he lined a Bartolo Colon pitch to right field, driving in Peter Bourjos with the tying run in the fifth inning.
Tiny ball. Does it seem like the Angels bunt their way on base a lot? Well, why shouldn't they? Mike Scioscia thinks this is the fastest team he's ever had and they're showing it. The Angels have 38 bunt hits this season, most in the majors. The leaders are Bourjos with 15 and Erick Aybar with 12. They both bunted their way on Friday night.
Offense. The Angels have been in a funk on this homestand, but up to now it has been obscured by the weak opposition. Their hitting issues got exposed a bit Friday, when ex-Angel Bartolo Colon came in and dominated them for seven innings. It was Colon's best start since at least early July. Note to Angels: This isn't 2005.
Support. When your ace pitches this well, you generally should reward him with a win. The Angels gave Weaver tons of support in his last start, when he won despite giving up six runs in five innings. But in his past 10 outings, the Angels have scored zero or one run while he was in the game six times. That's no way to give Justin Verlander Cy Young competition.
Strike zone? Umpire Dan Bellino caught a lot of flak, both from the Angels dugout and the fans. He called out Mark Trumbo on a pitch that the TV replay seemed to indicate was inside and, perhaps, low, then gave Alex Rodriguez some borderline pitches during a ninth-inning walk.