The Angels completed an ever-important sweep of the Seattle Mariners today, with a 3-2 victory that was eked out with the help of some increasingly familiar clutch hitting from the Halos. It was a battle between Jered Weaver and the Angels bullpen, and the Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma, with the good guys coming out on top, but just barely. Luckily enough, "barely" still counts.
Jered Weaver and Iwakuma started out this game in full stride, barely letting anybody on and keeping runs off of the board. Weaver was his usual self, albeit with a little more juice behind that "fast"ball of his(he hit a mighty 86mph today, which is pretty good for him). The score was locked up at zero until the fourth inning, when Jesus Montero got an RBI single through the third base side that Mike Trout could not rob, unfortunately(although it wouldn't have surprised me if he did).
The Angels answered in the same inning when David Murphy got a shallow, outfield single that scored Mike Trout all the way from second base. The 1-1 tie wasn't going anywhere, with the way that the starters were pitching today. The one curious note, however, would be Weaver's short leash. He only went five innings today, and left the game having thrown just 71 pitches, allowing four hits and one earned run.
Meanwhile, the Angels needed something off of Iwakuma if they were to get the crucial W, and when all else fails, you look to the surprisingly hot and insanely clutch David Freese. Freese had a walk-off last night, and today he hit an amazing solo shot to right-center that put the Angels up 2-1.
They couldn't get too settled into the victory, though, because Fernando Salas gave up a momentum-deflating homer to our old pal Mark Trumbo in the eighth. If the Angels were going to win today, it'd have to be with some late inning heroics, once again. If it were a month ago, this would spell certain doom and failure. But this team, right now...they look at your comeback win hesitancy and laugh their heads off.
In the bottom of the eighth, Johnny Givaotella cemented his status as Team Spark Plug when he hit a single that he somehow(and dangerously so) turned into a double. The classic Johnny G fist pump heralded to all watching that they had this game by the short hairs. With Taylor Featherston pinch running, he was moved to third on a sac bunt, and then Kole Calhoun came up and delivered a Red Baron special. Calhoun drove a single down the first base line, off of Montero's glove, and deflected just enough to get Calhoun safe and score Featherston. Angels retook the lead, 3-2, and were three outs away from one of the more thrilling series sweeps you'll ever see in the Big A.
Mike Morin got the call in the battered up closer role, and performed masterfully. Three easy outs(well, the last was a sorta scary deep fly ball) and the Angels got their hard won victory. The Astros and Twins also won today, so while they didn't gain any ground on those teams, they still kept pace in the wild card, and gained a game on the Rangers. They are sitting at 3 back from the division, and half a game back of the wild card.
They are in great position to surprise us all and have our heads spinning in the most entertaining and satisfying of ways: an unexpected playoff run.