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KC and the Cobbler: Angels crush Rays behind Calhoun RBIs, Shoemaker start

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The Angels stopped the losing streak with a dominating win in St. Petersburg, featuring a career high four RBI for Kole Calhoun, a Mickey Mantle-tying blast from Pujols and a great start from Matt Shoemaker.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Angels 8  Rays 2

Yesterday there was no baseball, but there was the draft. With the draft, came some questionable choices and hiccups by the Angels war room, and the fanbase was left to stew in our own juices for the past 24 hours. While the draft continued on today, and the Angels polo posse shored up their "high floor" prospect pool, it was time to get the focus back on the games. When we last left the Angels, they were the losers of five in a row, and being embarrassed to kingdom come by the Yankees, in New York. Today, with a day’s rest, they were in Tampa Bay to face the team that kicked off their losing streak back at the Big A a week ago. Tonight, the Halos would have their revenge.

The game was a marked improvement at the plate for the Angels, compared to their showing in the Bronx last weekend. They kicked things off early, and continued to drop the hammer late into the game. With Nate Karns starting for the Rays, the Angels first scored on an RBI double by Kole Calhoun, and then tacked on another run via a Carlos Perez ball that was misplayed, scoring David Freese. In the third, Freese doubled home Albert Pujols and made the game 3-0, while also keeping his current hitting streak alive(12 games). Speaking of Pujols, he would have a solo homer in the fifth, his 16th of the year, which also ties him with Mickey Mantle on the all time list.

While the Angels were sprinting out ahead in the early innings, the Rays were being stifled by a very locked in Matt Shoemaker. The Cobbler retired the first 11 batters of the game, and while he would get into trouble in the fifth, giving up two runs and getting pulled for Fernando Salas, his start was still a big step in the right direction. Shoemaker finished with 5 hits, 2 ER, 6 Ks over 6.1 IP. That shaggy wasn’t too shabby. Speaking of not too shabby, Salas came in during a rough situation, and did his job perfectly, getting out of the inning and containing the game.

The good performances on the bump were a welcome relief, but of course they would come on a night when it wasn’t really needed. The Angels continued to score on the Rays, with Enny Romero getting tagged for a run in the sixth from a Kole Calhoun single, but also in the eighth, when the Angels rocked him for another three runs. The Angels had five consecutive hits, the big stingers coming from a two-run single from Calhoun and an RBI double from Taylor Featherston. It was 8-2, and Joe Smith would be seeing his first set-up action since June 1.

Huston Street would make the ninth a tad interesting, but they would get the win and snap that horrid five game losing streak. Kole Calhoun hit lefties really well this evening, Albert Pujols had three hits, The Cobbler looked like 2014. The draft is exciting, and maddening, but these guys on the big league club...these guys are pretty fun to watch, some days. Today sure was one of them.