Wednesday, September 26, 2012
3 up, 3 down: Angels 4, Mariners 3
By Arash Markazi
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It might feel as if the Los Angeles Angels are running in place in the standings but at least they're still in the running with seven games left to play in the season.
On Wednesday night, the Angels beat the Seattle Mariners, 4-3, as Torii Hunter hit a walk-off single to score Maicer Izturis and give the Angels a much-needed comeback win, keeping their postseason hopes alive. The Angels are now two games out of the final American League wild-card spot with one more home game left against Seattle and six more on the road.
Hunter steps up: Hunter is making the @KeepTorii contingent at Angel Stadium look like geniuses lately. His .341 batting average since the All-Star break is the third best in the AL over that span and he has come through for the team time after time with clutch hits, including Wednesday night's heroics. It was Hunter's second walk-off hit this season. Hunter also hit a single to shallow right center to score Peter Bourjos in the seventh inning to tie the score at 3-3.
Aybar's shot:Erick Aybar is another player who has been on a tear as of late for the Angels. His .357 clip since the start of August ranks third in the majors and first in the AL and he is batting .332 since the All-Star break, which is good for eighth in the AL. On Wednesday he hit a two-run double to left to score Kendrys Morales and Alberto Callaspo and give the Angels an early 2-0 lead.
Bullpen shines: After C.J. Wilson was pulled, the Angels' bullpen kept the team in the game, not allowing a run through the final four innings. The combination of Jerome Williams, Kevin Jepsen and Ernesto Frieri pitched 3 2/3 innings, giving up no hits and no runs.
Wilson, again: By Wilson's standards it wasn't the worst start, but it wasn't good either. Wilson pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs, all earned, and five hits, including a home run. This is the first season Wilson has recorded double-digit losses. Wilson has thrown quality starts in just three of his last 10 starts and 20 of 31 overall. On the bright side, Wilson did record his 800th career strikeout in the game.
Pujols strikes out: Despite finally getting on base late in the game, it wasn't the best night for Albert Pujols, who struck out his first three times at bat before finally recording a hit. Pujols has actually been batting .316 over his last 15 games and had six RBIs in his previous four games before Wednesday night, when Felix Hernandez rendered him completely ineffective.
Oakland and Baltimore win: The only way the Angels are going to play their way into the postseason is by having teams like the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles (and even the Tampa Bay Rays) lose. On Wednesday night, all of those teams won, meaning the Angels were unable to gain any ground.