The Angels relied on the long ball at the plate, while Ervin Santana followed up last week's gem with another solid performance as the Angels closed out a four game set against the Orioles with a 8-5 victory. The Angels needed the win to keep pace with Texas who won in Minnesota. The Angels' lead sits at 4.5 games.
The Angels started their scoring in the second inning with Kendry Morales' 26th home run of the season, a two run shot that barely eluded the glove of Nick Markakis. The two run shot gave the Angels a one run lead. With the score tied 2-2 in the sixth, the Angels' power bats came to life yet again. Maicer Izturis led off the inning by crushing a 1-2 fastball over the wall in right for a 3-2 lead. Two batters later, Vladimir Guerrero hit a two run shot for a 5-2 lead.
Nick Markakis powered up for the Orioles. His solo shot in the bottom of the sixth pulled the Orioles within two. But a half inning later, Vlad struck again. With Chone Figgins on second base and two out, the Orioles decided to walk Bobby Abreu intentionally to face Vlad. Big mistake. He drilled a Cla Meredith fastball into the Oriole bullpen for his second homer of the game, providing the winning margin.
Santana threw a lot of pitches (116), but just when it looked like he was done, he was able to complete the sixth inning, giving some small measure of rest to a bullpen that worked nine innings just the day before. It wasn't a brilliant performance, but it gave the Angels a chance to win. The Angels are looking for some consistency from Santana, and they have to be pleased about back to back quality starts. Darren Oliver worked a steady seventh and eighth innings, and after Jose Arredondo ran into some trouble in the ninth, Brian Fuentes came into record the one out save, his 34th of the season.
Thoughts on the game:
- There's only so much I can say about Kendry Morales. Another homer tonight, an average over .300. He's going to hit over 30 homers and drive in over 100 runs. But the stat I liked best in this game was his #pitches. Only Chone Figgins saw more than Kendry's 25. He's learning discipline, and if he can add patience to that power, he may outproduce Mark Teixeira over the life of Teixeira's contract.
- I'm sounding like a broken record, but in Vlad's 12 games since returning on August 4th, he's got a line of 370/431/761. Not a bad deadline "acquisition". This team could very well go into October as a much better unit than the team that has built this lead.
- Torii Hunter had the night off after playing all 13 innings yesterday. The strength of this team is its versatility, and that's going to be very important down the stretch as guys need a break here and there.