Angels 9 Orioles 5
With the Angels facing a first place Orioles team, and Matt Shoemaker on the hill tonight for the good guys, it was almost impossible to predict what we’d see. Would it be the lights out Shoemaker we’ve seen a bunch this year already, shutting down the homer-loving Baltimore lineup? Or would it be a typical Halos bloodbath?
The start of this game would have pointed towards the latter, with Matt Shoemaker giving up a homer on literally his first pitch of the game. But if there was a trajectory towards the ugly and the unwatchable, perhaps it was derailed by an insane, homer-robbing catch by Daniel Nava. Nava saved a Manny Machado ball from going over the fence, which would have been the second bomb of the first inning, and things could have gotten bad from there.
Instead, the homer was miraculously snagged, giving memories of Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos in Camden Yards games of yesteryear, and then the Angels turned on the afterburners. The hits were flowing like wine tonight, and for the first time in about a year, Shoemaker was getting massive run support. FINALLY!
The Halos finished with 10 hits total, with almost the entire lineup pitching in for at least one, all except C.J. Cron, who still managed to drive in two runs on ground outs. This was an RBI single Friday night party, more or less, with Jett Bandy, Kole Calhoun, Yunel Escobar and Daniel Nava all doing their part to pile on the runs.
They were destroying Orioles pitching, whether it was starter Ubaldo Jimenez or reliever Mike Wright, and Matt Shoemaker had to have loved seeing that. By the 7th inning, they already had nine on the board to the Orioles’ 3, and Matt Shoemaker was finally in line for a win. It wasn’t his most dominating effort we’ve seen, but he pitched 5+, only gave up a few runs and a few hits, and his team picked him up.
Lots of action here in this game: that Nava catch, Mike Trout got on base a ton (overtaking David Ortiz in OBP even), Yunel Escobar continued to be the hottest hitting 3B in baseball...lots to love in this one. Oh, and the relief pitching, too.
The Angels had great outings from relievers Cam Bedrosian and Deolis Guerra, putting the Orioles to bed for the evening (well, not before giving up a meaningless Trumbo homer in the ninth, but I’ll allow it), and giving them their 4th win in a row. They’re now 5-3 on this current road trip, and it’s looking like they may have a shot at finishing strong before going into the All Star break. I will take whatever positivity I can get at this point!
The only bad news in this is Cron and his hand. Specifically, his hand that is now broken from being hit by a pitch. Ji-Man Choi was pulled from a AAA game, so we may see some Choi in the near future; the early reports on Cron’s hand are definitely not good, he’s going to hit the DL.
Enough of that, though. This team is riding their season-best 4 game win streak, and tonight got one from a division leader. The bats have come alive on this road trip, and wouldn’t you know it, when they hit and score, they win.