It took a couple of days, but the Angels finally found the offense they left in Minnesota. Combined with an adequate performance from Ervin Santana, the Angels salvaged the last of their three game set at the Cell with a 9-4 victory.
The Angels got things rolling early with six runs in the first three innings, two on Jeff Mathis' solo shot, and one on a bomb from Vlad Guerrero, his first since coming off the DL on Tuesday and fifth of the season. Jason Nix hit a three run shot in the second inning for the Sox. In the bottom of the third, Santana, after plunking Paul Konerko to load the bases, walked Mark Kotsay, forcing in the Sox' fourth run, and things looked bleak. But Santana froze Nix on a 3-2 pitch for a called strikeout, and induced an inning ending ground out from Chris Getz.
Bobby Abreu hit his ninth homer of the season in the fifth inning. Kendry Morales delivered an RBI with his first hit of the series in the seventh inning. Erick Aybar slugged his fourth homer of the season in the ninth, and at that point the game was beyond doubt.
Santana lasted six innings and allowed four runs for his fourth win of the season, and Jason Bulger provided two innings of perfect relief to make sure the Sox didn't entertain any thoughts of coming back. Kevin Jepsen pitched a shaky ninth, allowing a solo homer to Dwayne Wise before recording the final out.
Thoughts on the game:
- The Angels attempted seven steals, but were only successful four times. The most egregious attempt came in the seventh inning when Guerrero broke from first base too early. Aybar, on third base, tried to come home on the play, but was cut down. Vlad later scored on Morales' single.
- Santana on the road in a day game is usually a perfect storm of suck. But he survived the three run homer and a very shaky third to close the game strong. His bases loaded walk came after he was up on Kotsay 0-2, and he almost walked Nix after getting ahead 1-2.
- The Angels drew five more walks, giving them 13 in the three games. That's usually enough to win, but they had only one extra base hit in the first two games. They pounded out five today, including four homers.
- The weather in Chicago has been perfect the last few days. I haven't even had to turn on the AC. But it's going to get very hot this weekend. The Angels are leaving at the right time.