Angels 5 Rangers 2
This game got off to quite an unexpected, weird start for J.C. Ramirez. Ramirez looked out of sorts in the early goings, with velocity that hung around the low-90s (instead of the high-90s we usually salivate over), and tight spots peppered throughout. He gave up a run in the first frame, too, due to that pesky Carlos Gomez (RBI single...although the run was thanks to Cameron Maybin bobbling the exchange and being unable to throw the ball in).
It was looking like he was going to suffer a bad off day; a setback to his great beginning to 2017. That worry was premature, however. Ramirez eventually settled down and locked in to a groove, at one point even dispatching of nine Rangers in a row. Luckily, he had Kole Calhoun keeping the Halos in the game until they could get something going.
Calhoun had a nice assist to Martin Maldonado at home, as he used that cannon of his to save a Rangers run from crossing the plate by throwing the ball from RF straight to Maldonado, who immediately stretched behind himself to complete the highlight reel play. That was the first time we’ve seen Kole nail someone at home, and it was awesome.
Kole also added offense, when he hit a solo jack to right field in the third. This was his second homer of the season, and it tied the game up at 1-1. Ramirez, by this time, was in cruise control, and the demeanor of the game went from the Rangers’ favor to the Halos’. In the fifth, they broke it open.
With Texas starter Martin Perez still on the bump in the fifth, the Angels threatened for the whole side, pretty much. They actually loaded the bases up for Albert Pujols, with one out, but he couldn’t get the job done, so lucky for us fans that Jefry Marte was up for the task. Marte hit a two-run single, which gave the Halos a nice 3-1 cushion. Huge hit for Marte, to say the least.
Ramirez would give a run back, though, in bottom of that inning, when he gave up a solo homer to Shin-Soo Choo. The Rangers got one of those Marte runs back, but not for long, because in the sixth, Maldonado had a double, which was then followed by an RBI single from Yunel Escobar and the Angels reclaimed a two-run lead, the score 4-2 Angels after five.
That would pretty much be the end of Ramirez’s day in Arlington. He got one out in the sixth, with 91 pitches thrown and a guy on first, and Mike Scioscia said he’d had a good enough day for him and he would look to the bullpen to hold on to the lead. Hats off to Ramirez, who added another good start to his short starting pitcher career. He finished with 5.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. That’s a purdy line, I will take that every time.
The bullpen, by the way, did a pretty fine job of containment here. There were some jams they had to dig themselves out of, often thanks to some good defense (like a diving Simba grab out past second base to rob a hit), but the pitching itself was pretty good on it’s own. Alvarez did his job, Blake Parker looked like a stud once again, and yes, he got a strikeout, and Bud Norris was the go-to guy in late innings.
Just to add an exclamation mark to his awesome day, Jefry Marte hit a solo bomb in the top of the ninth, giving the Halos, and Norris, a 5-2 advantage going into the bottom of the inning. That would be all they need, as Norris shut the Rangers down and the Angels got the series win.
So Ramirez and the bullpen, combined with Jefry Marte’s three RBIs alone, could make a case for heroes of the day. They definitely had the team on their backs, as did Kole Calhoun, in the earlier part of this contest. There’s a lot of Panther to go around, that’s for sure.
This team as a whole, despite the slip up last night, still seems to be rolling just fine to me. The starting pitching was once again a bright spot, Mike Trout is still Mike Trout (he got a single early, now on a 14-game hitting streak) , the defense contributed like we expected, and the lineup had a Sunday hit party (Maldonado, Marte, Escobar and Calhoun all had multi-hit days, team had 10 hits total), and in the end, the good guys won convincingly.