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Saturday, September 17, 2011
Orioles 6, Angels 2: Three Up, Three Down

By Mark Saxon

Ervin Santana
Ervin Santana had a disastrous first inning and the Angles couldn't climb out of the hole.

Two of the Angels' best pitchers let them down in Baltimore and the offense continued to struggle, putting their playoff hopes on the verge of flickering out.

Ervin Santana gave up five first-inning runs on a couple of Baltimore home runs and the Angels lost 6-2, leaving them 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Texas Rangers after the Rangers defeated the Mariners, 7-6, later Saturday. The Angels have only 11 games left on their schedule.

The Good:

Catcher indifference. An Angels catcher managed to go an entire game without making an unproductive out. Bobby Wilson started and walked and hit a sacrifice fly before the perfunctory pinch-hitting appearance took him out of the game. That's 0-for-0, wildly productive for an Angels catcher this year.

Triple threat. Vernon Wells had an RBI triple, albeit too late to help prevent a crushing loss. That kind of says it all about Wells' season. Maybe he can get hot and build a little momentum for next April.

Baltimore's fight. You've got to give Baltimore some credit for playing hard in these games and, frankly, dominating them. The Orioles went 6-0 vs. the Angels last year, by the way.

The Bad:

Santana's first. Ervin Santana pitched well from the second inning through the seventh, but the damage had already been done. Mark Reynolds did some serious damage to the Angels this season, including his three-run blast off Santana in the first.

Hitting. The struggling starters were a surprise. The lack of offense wasn't. But still, the Angels managed four hits, not exactly the effort you're looking for in the heat of a race. It kind of speaks for itself.

Top four. You're not going to win many games when the first four batters in your lineup combine to go 0-for-14 with four strikeouts. This offense fell back into one of its swoons, something it could cover up when the pitching was stout but that has now been exposed. It could get ugly if the Angels don't hit in Toronto next week, because that team figures to score.