After Friday's 16 run debacle, the Angels handed the ball over their big horse, John Lackey. Lackey responded with seven innings of one run ball, and was the beneficiary of a five run third inning as the Angels beat the Orioles 6-1.
All of the game's runs came in the third inning. After Brian Matusz started the inning by striking Jeff Mathis, he allowed the next five batters to reach base. Chone Figgins walked, Erick Aybar singled, and Bobby Abreu walked to load the bases. Matusz then walked Vladimir Guerrero to drive in the first run of the game. Juan Rivera singled to center, and Adam Jone's misplay allowed Aybar and Abreu to score. Howie Kendrick's ground out score Guerrero, and Robb Quinlan's single scored Rivera for the Angels' fifth and final run.
In the bottom of the third, a double from Nick Markakis scored Adam Jones, and that capped the scoring for the evening. John Lackey shut down the Orioles the rest of the way. He lasted seven innings, striking out six while allowing 8 baserunners. It's the type of performance the Angels expect from Lackey, and the type of performance they'll need if they make it to October. Kevin Jepsen worked a scoreless eighth, but Jason Bulger struggled in the ninth. He allowed a single to Melvin Mora and walked Felix Pie, creating a save situation. Mike Scioscia summoned Brian Fuentes, he quickly got three fly balls for his 33rd save.
Thoughts on the game:
- For John Lackey, that makes seven straight quality starts. He has an ERA under 2.00 over that stretch. Let's not forget that he's playing for a contract. And while he's had a rough go of it at times over the last two years, every quality start adds dollars to his next deal.
- It seems like I've written a lot of recaps lately in which I mention an inning in which the Angels see five, six, or seven straight batters reach base. Reminds me a lot of the 2002 offense.
- With Kendry Morales getting a rest tonight, the Angels offense had a mere five straight hitters in the lineup hitting over .300. Of those, only Bobby Abreu failed to get a hit tonight.