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Wednesday, May 30, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: Yankees 6, Angels 5

By Mark Saxon

The Angels' eight-game winning streak came to a halt Wednesday night, but not without a fight.

The Angels rallied from a 5-1 early hole to tie the game before the New York Yankees tacked on a run to win it 6-5 at Angel Stadium and sidestep the three-game sweep. A familiar problem -- Ervin Santana home run balls -- returned, and a trend continued -- Mark Trumbo's torrid hitting.

The Good:

Killing it loudly. Mark Trumbo told me before the game that just knowing he's in the lineup every day has helped get into a nice rhythm at the plate. But it's got to be more than that, doesn't it? Trumbo looks as dangerous as any hitter in the game not named Josh Hamilton, one of only two AL hitters with a higher OPS. He has homered in four straight games. If he goes deep again Friday, he'd set a new Angels record. Trumbo went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs.

Feisty fish. Mike Trout is probably a little more edgy than most people realize. He didn't look happy after Ivan Nova hit him in the shoulder with a pitch in the first inning, so he promptly stole second. He also later hit a two-run double off Nova. The Angels' rookie appears to have the right combination of on-field swagger and clubhouse humility to walk the delicate line this game requires.

Getting on. One of the reasons Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto fired hitting coach Mickey Hatcher was that he wanted to see a greater emphasis on on-base percentage. During this hot streak, we're seeing evidence that the Angels are moving in that direction. The top four hitters in the lineup were on base 10 times to give Trumbo and Howie Kendrick copious chances.

The Bad:

The barrage. Ervin Santana is giving up home runs at an extraordinary pace. He has allowed 15 long balls in his 11 starts, most in the majors. They are proving costly to Santana (2-7), who has a 2012 team option in his contract, and for the Angels, who have lost all but two of his starts. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano both took him deep in a rough third inning.

Rally killer. Kendrick popped up with the bases loaded in the first inning. He hit into an inning-ending double play to spoil a two-on, one-out rally in the fifth and he struck out to strand two more runners in the seventh. Yeah. Rough night for Kendrick, whose season just has never gotten clicking.

Soft around the middle. The back end of the Angels' bullpen is as solid as it has been in years. It's the middle innings you worry about, but then again, what team doesn't? Hisanori Takahashi (0-2, 5.06 ERA) hardly seems like he adds much value. The Angels fought so hard to tie the game in that fourth inning and then Takahashi gives up a triple to Raul Ibanez and a run to squander the momentum.