It couldn’t have been a more perfect setting. Blue skies, high 70’s, a nice sea breeze, Southern California baseball is back, and we sure missed it while it was gone.
The first place Oakland Athletics came in to a sold out Angel Stadium today looking to gain some extra ground on the possibly deteriorating Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim but the boys in red had different plans by picking up a game in the West with a nifty 4-1 win, sealing manager Mike Scoscia’s 1,200th win (5th most for active managers).
Jered Weaver kept the Athletics numbers on the board low, both in the runs column, and the hits column as well as only four A’s batters could manage a hit off the strong righty tonight. Weaver, to everyone’s surprise, came out to pitch in the seventh after already throwing 108 pitches, and he didn’t disappoint. He struck out the first batter (Chris Young) and got the second (Seth Smith) to groundout. His night finished with 6.2 innings pitched. He walked four, and struck out a season-high eight.
The Angels had eight hits on the night, one an RBI double from Josh Hamilton, and three of that left the yard. The three home runs were all solo shots, but boy were they shots! Albert Pujols started the fun with a dinger to left that went into the second row beyond the Angels dugout, and he watched every little bit of it, staring down the ball from home plate until it landed. Pujols finished the night 2-for-4.
Erick Aybar joined the party with a solo shot to the shallowest fences in right field. Regardless of how “little” the blast was, it cleared the fences, good enough for his fourth of the season and 13th consecutive homer at Angel Stadium that was solo.
Just two batters later, Mike Trout saw a slider he liked, and drilled it with authority to deep left center. The shot was Trout’s 16th of the season and he finished the night 1-for-3 with a walk to add to his credit.
I brought the name up earlier, but Josh Hamilton is quietly starting to get his mechanics in order and is starting to swing the bat a little better as the season has progressed. This could be a very nice start to a very nice second half for Mr. Hamilton.
The ninth had excitement for the Athletics as a single and error let leadoff man Brandon Moss reach second, and then quickly come home on an RBI double from Chris Young. The excitement was over for the Athletics though as Ernesto Frieri was put into the game and had a quick 1-2-3 rest of the inning closing out the game, giving him his 23rd save of the season, on his 28th birthday.
On one down note, Yoenis Cespedes was scratched from tonight’s lineup last minute due to soreness in his left wrist.
The Angels now go into the second half just 10 games back of the A’s with a very large schedule ahead. The Angels will finish this weekend with two more against Oakland, take a three game break against Minnesota, then head north to Oakland for four, then three against Texas… it’s nitty gritty time for the Halo’s but if they can pull through, expect to be spending some time watching baseball in October… the fun has just begun.
Final from Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California
Athletics, 1 Angels, 4
W – Jered Weaver (4-5, 3.30)
L – A.J. Griffin (8-7, 3.82)
S – Ernesto Frieri (23, 2.81)
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