July 22, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Dan Haren (24) pitches in the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
On the day the Angels acquired an ace in a blockbuster trade, their #4 starter stepped up and pitched like a top of the rotation arm.
Dan Haren scattered five hits thru six-plus innings, allowing only a solo homerun to tarnish the scoreboard. For most teams this would have been the ace of the staff starting a home series off with authority. Instead, with the acquisition of Zack Greinke, this was the Angels gimme game of the series, pitching-wise, as Dirty Dan is the rotation's #4 man. Two reigning All Stars and a recent Cy Younger are slotted ahead of him. Didn't matter to Tampa Bay who, besides a 3 for 4 night by Jeff Keppinger, the author of that solo HR, looked mighty dim in the batter's box.
While Ernesto Frieri recorded the Save for a 1-2-3 ninth inning, Kevin Jepsen may have been the guttiest man in the stadium when he took the mound with two men on and nobody out in the sevent inning. Haren had allowed a leadoff double and surrendered a walk. Mike Scioscia made the call and two fly outs later Jepsen struck out the last Ray he would face. Scott Downs pitched a scoreless eighth, his best inning since the All Star break.
Angels bats were not quite awake after their day off Thursday. They managed eight singles, no walks and the big hit of the night, a two-out two run double by Albert Pujols who scored on a Mark Trumbo single a moment later. Trumbo was thrown out trying to stretch it into a two-base knock. They wouldn't really do much more and none of it of consequence, but with the number four man on the mound looking like another team's ace, they didn't need to.
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Panther of the Game
Dan Haren (455 votes)
Kevin Jepsen (91 votes)
Albert Pujols (115 votes)
661 total votes