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Sunday, September 9, 2012
Angels 3, Tigers 2: 3 Up, 3 Down

By Arash Markazi

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- If you discounted the Los Angeles Angels’ sweep of the Oakland A’s last week for whatever reason, you will be hard-pressed to ignore what they just did to the Detroit Tigers in sweeping back-to-back series for the first time this season.

After defeating the Tigers 3-2 on Sunday, the Angels have now won six straight and 11 of 12 since Aug. 28. A 2-1 loss in Seattle last week prevented them from being unbeaten during this stretch.

The Angels are now six games behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West and just one game out of a wild-card spot.

The good:

Trout again: Mike Trout once again led off the game with a home run, becoming the first rookie to lead off a game with a homer on back-to-back days since Tyler Colvin in 2010. The home run was also his 27th of the season from the leadoff spot, which breaks the Angels' franchise record. Since the start of the 1974 season, only Nomar Garciaparra in 1997 (30 homers) has hit more home runs as a rookie leadoff hitter. Trout’s 27 home runs rank third all-time by an Angels rookie, trailing only Tim Salmon’s 31 in 1995 and Mark Trumbo’s 29 last year.

Greinke’s solid start: The resurgence of the Angels’ rotation continued Sunday with a strong outing from Zack Greinke. The right-hander went 7.0 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and striking out seven. Greinke has now won five of his past six starts and has thrown at least seven innings in all five of his victories.

Callaspo comes up big: After singling to drive in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth against Detroit on Friday, Alberto Callaspo once again came up big for the Angels. He hit a two-run homer to right field in the second inning to give the Angels a 3-0 lead.

The bad:

Trumbo lifted: Mark Trumbo’s struggles at the plate have been no secret since the All-Star break as he has been dropped down in the lineup and taken out all together at times. After going 1-for-3 on Sunday, Trumbo was pulled from the game in the top of the seventh inning in favor of Peter Bourjos, who played center field, while Trout moved over to left field. Bourjos immediately made his presence felt by stealing an Austin Jackson line drive that could have easily driven Quintin Berry home to tie the game. Bourjos is an offensive liability but he isn’t much worse than Trumbo as of late. Trumbo is hitting just .173 over his past 34 games to drop his average from .306 to .269, and he has homered just three times in his past 41 games.

Morales hitless: Maybe Kendrys Morales was due for one of these games. He came into the game batting .395 with six doubles, a triple, two home runs and nine RBI over his past 10 games. He has six multiple-hit games in his past 10 contests, including two three-hit games. So what did he do Sunday? He went 0-for-4 and struck out twice.

Iannetta gets cold: Chris Iannetta might have been another player due for a bad game after a stellar stretch. Iannetta was .345 with 12 RBI over his past 20 games to raise his average from .194 to .258. His .304 clip since Aug. 1 is tops for a catcher in the American League. So what did Iannetta do Sunday? He went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.