Thursday, June 04, 2009

Angels 6; Jays 5

For the second straight night, the Angels got off to a quick start. John Lackey, trying to get back on track after some rocky outings, found a groove, lasting seven innings while allowing only two runs on seven hits. He threw 114 pitches, 69 for strikes, showing that he's apparently regaining his stamina.

The offense took advantage of Brian Tallet's shakiness in the first inning. Chone Figgins led off the game with a walk. He advanced to second on Erick Aybar's ground out, avoiding the double play by running on the pitch. Vladimir Guerrero singled him home. After Vlad stole second, it was Torii Hunter's turn to drive in the run. Another stolen base from Hunter and a Juan Rivera RBI double later, the Angels led 3-0. They pushed the lead to 4-0 when Chone Figgins singled home Robb Quinlan in the fourth inning. After the Jays pulled to within three, Mike Napoli's solo shot put the Angels back up by four.

Things got dicey in the eighth inning. Darren Oliver entered the game to start the eighth and allowed three straight hits. Justin Speier relieved him and allowed the first two hitters he faced to reach base before retiring the side. When the dust settled, the Jays had tied the game at 5-5. But the Angels fought back in the top of the ninth. Howie Kendrick bunted his way to first base to lead off the inning, and advanced to third on Chone Figgins' single. Erick Aybar grounded into a double play, scoring Kendrick for a 6-5 lead. Brian Fuentes struck out the side in the ninth, but not before allowing the go ahead run to reach first base.

Thoughts on the game:

  • Chone Figgins was on base three more times, pushing his OBP to .385. Hopefully for Figgins, former Angels bench coach Joe Maddon is taking notice. He may be an all-star this year.
  • Howie Kendrick is still struggling, but his bunt single probably saved this game for the Angels.
  • Two straight quality starts for Angels pitchers. If they can get Ervin Santana straightened out, and if Kelvim Escobar returns strong, this could be the start of a good run.

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