The Angels used offensive outbursts in the first and second innings to jump out to a 6-0 lead and never looked back as they took two of three from the Rockies, who came into Anaheim red hot. Joe Saunders made sure the Rockies never got back into the came, picking up his eighth win in the process, and keeping the Angels in a first place tie with the Texas Rangers.
The Angels scored three times with two outs in the first inning. Following Torii Hunter's double play ball, the next four Angels reached base. Vlad drove in a run with a double off the wall in left center, and after a Juan Rivera walk, Kendry Morales and Maicer Izturis delivered RBI singles.
Vlad struck again in the second inning with a two out, two run home run over the wall in left center field, only his second homer of the season, and the first since shaving his dreadlocks.
The Angels added two more runs in the fourth, and one in the sixth to push the lead to 9-0 before the Rockies finally got on the board. Bobby Abreu closed out the scoring for the Angels with a two run homer in the eighth inning, his fourth of the season.
Joe Saunders worked 6+ innings, and allowed one run on four hits while striking out six. He left the game in seventh inning after allowing a home run to Garret Atkins and a single to Brad Hawpe. He pushed his record to 8-4, and lowere his ERA to 3.66, a little behind last year's pace, but solid nonetheless. Justin Speier struck out the side in the seventh, and after Rafael Rodriguez allowed to runs in the eighth, Darren Oliver worked a perfect ninth to close it out.
Thoughts on the game:
- It may be a momentary blip, but if Vlad is finding his bat speed, it will be huge for the Angels. His power bat could work as the mid-season acquisition the Angels need.
- Chone Figgins had three more hits. His current line, 330/405/422, is all-star worthy. And while Ichiro could play center field, Figgins' production while playing an excellent third base rivals what the Mariners are getting from Ichiro in right field.
- One more note on Figgins. He's also on pace for a career high in walks. Can you tell it's a contract year?