Friday, April 20, 2012
3 up, 3 down: Angels 6, Orioles 3
By Blair Angulo
ANAHEIM -- The Angels snapped a three-game skid with a 6-3 win Friday night against the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a weekend series at Angel Stadium. They're now a victory away from taking their first series of the season, but the Angels have yet to win two straight games.
Starting pitcher Jerome Williams did enough in 6 2/3 innings, second baseman Howie Kendrick had three hits and three RBIs and closer Jordan Walden picked up the save in his first opportunity.
High socks. Baseball players try funny things to snap out of funks. Infielders Kendrick, Erick Aybar and Alberto Callaspo, for instance, went old school Friday, pulling up their pant legs for a synchronized knee-high look. Each reached base three times and the trio combined to score four runs, so don't be surprised if the socks come out again this weekend.
Same face, new place. Mark Trumbo, making his first outfield start of the season, had another two hits, including an RBI double in the first, and manager Mike Scioscia's job isn't getting any easier. "Mark looked comfortable in left field," Scioscia said. "Wherever we can fit him in, he will play."
Rebound. There's reason to be optimistic about the back end of the Angels' rotation after the outing Williams turned in. He bounced back from his poor season debut against the Yankees, limiting the Orioles to three runs in 6 2/3 innings. Williams struck out six and allowed only five hits heading into the seventh but was pulled after giving up a towering homer to Nolan Reimold.
Stranded. Scioscia pointed to struggles with situational hitting as a reason for the team's awful start, and the Angels were at it again Friday. They could have pulled away early but left seven runners on base through the first four innings. Albert Pujols flied out to the wall with two runners on in the second, Chris Iannetta struck out with two on in the third and Torii Hunter lined into a double play with the bases loaded in the fourth.
False alarm. Fans are ready to erupt. The tension inside Angel Stadium keeps building with every Pujols fly ball and will keep doing so until one leaves the yard. He was closer to his first home run as an Angel, flying out to the 387-foot sign in left-center field with two runners on in the second inning.
Throwing. Errant throws by Aybar and Callaspo to first base must have had general manager Jerry Dipoto holding his breath. Pujols pulled them down and managed to tag out the base runners, but the sequence was cringe worthy. Pujols, as you may recall, missed some time last season after spraining his wrist on a tag.