Sporting a 1.62 ERA through 7 career starts, Mike Montgomery was facing the Angels for the first time in his big league career. Normally, this would be a recipe for disaster for the Halos, but this time around the boys only needed once through the order to solve Seattle's rookie lefty. Birthday boy Johnny Giavotella laced a double to left with one out in the third, the first of three hits on the day for Little Italy. Calhoun followed and was plunked, setting the stage for Mr. Trout, who deposited a low pitch over the center field wall. Angels 3, M's 1.
CJ Cron made a case for himself as a full-time DH by hitting his own blast to center leading off the fourth. The red-hot Cron wasn't done, parking one the other way for a two-run shot in the 6th to put his team up 6-1. Trout would not be outdone, launching one the other way for his second homer of the night. Combined, Trout and Cron went a combined 5-9 with 4 home runs and 7 runs batted in, showing they don't need the launching pads in Texas and Denver to flex their muscles.
This was more than enough for staff leader Hector Santiago. While skeptics wait for him to regress, he continued to baffle opposing hitters with low 90's heat and command of an ever improving change up. He scattered 8 hits over 7 innings, striking out 7 while walking none against a pretty good Seattle line-up. This concludes a brilliant first half that saw him go 6-4 with a 2.33 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Not bad for a guy most had pegged as a swingman coming out of spring training.
Vinnie Pestano did not do much to stake his claim to a spot in the pen in the second half, hitting a batter and surrendering a Trumbomb in the ninth. Even with a four run lead, Scioscia was quick with the hook and brought on Fernando Salas, who actually wrapped things up nicely. Angels win, Astros lose and suddenly we are looking at a half game deficit two days before the All Star break. There is still work to be done but the team appears to be firing on all cylinders with no signs of slowing down.