Fourth of July and baseball: a perfect combination of Americana, athleticism and specifically for us, a huge Angels victory. The Halos played in Arlington this evening, on America’s birthday, coming off of a huge offensive explosion from the night before, and in the parlance of Aerosmith, the train kept a rolllin’. Not only did the offense put on the obligatory fireworks show, but Hector Santiago continued to lay claim to the team’s Ace title.
From the second inning on, the Angels were knocking around the Rangers’ pitching staff like it was batting practice. The usual heroes were on display from last night, like Erick Aybar, who started the game going 2-2, which combined with last night, was a mouth-watering 7-7 in his last seven ABs. Over the past two weeks, Aybar has been heating up, and it’s coming to a head in this series. Kole Calhoun continues to come alive in this series, as well. He had a home run, and finished with two hits, two RBI and two runs scored. Albert Pujols, and Johnny Giavotella each had two RBI on their collective hits, and and the Angels also got run from one of Aybar’s previously mentioned hits.
The most impressive offensive stat line of the night came from C.J. Cron, though, as the young slugger became the 47th person in Angels history to have a six RBI night. Cron had an inhuman stat line of 3-4, 1 R, 6 RBI and 1 HR. He was doing it all at the plate, getting sac flies, or hitting long doubles, or three run jimmyjacks to left field, and he would eventually end up a triple shy of the cycle; he’s been making the most of his recent call up, and the team couldn’t need him more. This is the type of thing that the team was banking on...hot streaks and surges, unlikely heroes emerging. Risky baseball, but it’s fun to watch when it’s clicking.
Hector Santiago did what he has been doing this season, and that’s shut teams down. He held the Rangers scoreless in 7 IP, giving up 3 hits and allowing ZERO runs. Hector was struggling early, mostly in the first and second, but then got into cruise control and never looked back. He’s firmly positioned as the Angels best pitcher, and with the AL’s fourth best ERA and five wins, he would be a fine All Star Game selection.
The Angels won this series already, and it wasn’t even close. That’s four series in a row, and with the Astros losing, they made up a game in the standings. The sweep tomorrow will be the cherry on top of a great weekend. Maybe this past week was the catalyst they needed, because they sure have been playing some good baseball. The outpouring of runs over the last two games has come from not just Trout and/or Pujols, like we’re used to. Instead, it’s been a team beatdown effort. Bombs bursting in air, indeed, and what a fine 4th of July.