The Angels overcame another shaky start, needed to come from behind yet again, and survived a second straight awful performance from Brian Fuentes to end their two game losing streak.
Jered Weaver turned in a mediocre outing, but gave the Angels a chance to win. He struggled with his control, needing over 100 pitches (nearly half out of the strike zone) for five innings of work in which he allowed four runs on four hits while walking three. Matt Palmer provided three excellent innings of relief and picked up the win in the process.
In the third inning, the Angels strung together five straight hits, leading to three runs. They may have had more if Chone Figgins hadn’t been eliminated at the plate trying to score from first base on Erick Aybar’s double. The Indians tied the game in the fourth inning, and took a one run lead on Jhonny Peralta’s solo shot in the fifth. The Angels finally caught up and pulled ahead with a four run eighth inning. Juan Rivera’s RBI single tied the game, but things looked bleak when Mike Napoli grounded into a double play. But after Indians reliever Tony Sipp walked the next two hitters, loading the bases, Gary Matthews Jr. delivered a three run double.
Brian Fuentes took the ball in the ninth and failed to record an out, his second straight awful outing. Jason Bulger relieved Fuentes with the bases loaded, and induced a grounder to first from Victor Martinez which led to a brilliant 3-6-1 double play, pulling the Indians to within one. Bulger got Peralta to ground to short to end the game.
Thoughts on the game:
- Give a lot of credit to Mike Scioscia for finally realizing that his closer wasn’t going to get it done and giving the ball to someone else. Bulger came into an impossible situation and got two ground balls to end the game. After two straight losses, the Angels really needed this one.
- Erick Aybar had two more hits. He’s having an unbelievable month. He’s hitting 439/465/598 for July, and he’s pulled his season numbers to 318/357/433, good for an OPS+ of 105, which is terrific for a shortstop of his defensive caliber. In the absence of Torii Hunter and Vlad, the slack has been more than adequately picked up by Aybar and Kendry Morales. This is a really fun offensive team to watch.
- Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana, and Jered Weaver aren’t doing anything to convince Tony Reagins that the Angels don’t need to add a starter. But the replacement may be Sean O’Sullivan, who has looked solid at the major league level, and just pitched a no-hitter against Sacramento in AAA last night.