Like a broken record, the Angels got themselves into a close contest today in Toronto, and almost had to (once again) count on late-game heroics if they were hoping to come away with the win. The Angels had Hector Santiago on the mound, and were facing the Blue Jays’ young SP Aaron Sanchez for the first time. Speaking of broken records, we all know what happens when the Angels face some youngster they haven’t seen before: they typically lose, and look lost at the plate while doing it. Today wasn’t so bad, however, as they managed to string together some timely hits, manufactured runs on the base paths and kept Toronto on their toes.
Hector Santiago got off on the wrong foot in this game, when he gave up a solo deep shot to rebellious 15 year old Josh Donaldson. After yesterday’s game, I don’t think I’d blame an Angels fan who immediately got pessimistic at that point, but Santiago shrugged it off and went on to have yet another solid starting pitching performance. He would also give up a sac fly to Donaldson in the fifth, but it came in an inning when he had two men on and had to face the meat of the Blue Jays’ order. So escaping with having allowed just one man to cross the plate was a result that Angels fans, and Hector, could be very happy with.
I think a theme is developing in this young season: the more I mock Scioscia’s lineup, the better they perform. I posted something on Saturday in that vein, and the Angels won 6-1. Today, I posed more questions regarding Scioscia’s lineup reasoning, specifically my qualms with Calhoun being an everyday cleanup hitter and Chris Iannetta getting another start at catcher. Well, Kole manufactured a crucial run in the seventh inning after getting walked, advancing to second on a ground-out, and getting to third on a wild pitch. Then who singled him home to tie up the game at 2 runs apiece? Chris Iannetta. Feel free to keep proving me wrong, guys! Seriously, I don’t mind this particular brand of crow. Oh, and Kole Calhoun hit a line drive laser beam home-run in the fourth to put the Angels on the board to begin with, as the right fielder went opposite field off of Aaron Sanchez. Surprisingly, this was Kole’s first ever opposite field homer in the bigs. Pretty sweet.
The go-ahead run came in the eighth inning, beginning with Erick Aybar getting his second single of the game. He then advanced to second on a Mike Trout groundout, and then got gutsy as he attempted to get to third on an Albert Pujols fielders choice. Aybar narrowly avoided a tag by Josh Donaldson, as well as avoiding a double play, and kept the rally alive. Up came David Freese, another subject of my wariness, and a sac fly brought Aybar home. The score was 3-2 and behind a very brisk 1-2-3 eighth for Joe Smith, they headed into the ninth inning. Huston Street came in and was lights out, collecting his 13th save of the season and making the team sleep a little easier tonight.
Kole Calhoun goes oppo taco for the first time ever, Chris Iannetta has two hits(!!!!!), Erick Aybar showed some guile on the bases and had himself another multi-hit game and Hector Santiago continues to look sharp and lowered his ERA to 2.25. This was a good game.