ANAHEIM – Winning is a continuous trend for the Los Angeles Angels, as they picked up their 92nd win of the season, and ninth straight against the Houston Astros in their return home on Friday night.
The Angels collected 12 hits in their 11-3 defeat of the Astros, having all of those come from their starting order. Four of their starters had multi-hit games including a three-hit performance from Kole Calhoun (3-for-4, 3 runs, 2 RBI). The Angels have outscored their opponents 121-51 in their last 17 games, picking up wins in 15 of those.
“At times you’re going to see teams go on runs like that and we’ve had them here before,” said manager Mike Scioscia. “Obviously it’s a great time for it… Right now these runs are very welcome, we need them. It’s taken pressure off our pitchers, giving our bullpen a chance to reset and hopefully these guys keep it running.”
Potential MVP candidate, Mike Trout, finished the night going 2-for-4 with a double and triple. Trout picked up his 104th and 105 runs batted in for the 2014 season, tying him for the Major League lead (Giancarlo Stanton, NL). Trout also joined the company of Ty Cobb as the only two players with 100 stolen bases, 300 runs batted in, and 500 hits before the age-23 season.
For the seventh game in a row, Howie Kendrick had multiple hits in a game. While batting from the cleanup spot in 2014, as he did tonight, Kendrick has a slash of 321/.372/.550, and also has 31.8% of his RBI (22) in 18.9% of his at bats (109).
Erick Aybar continued his hot season, hitting a career high, 158 hits, and batting .390 since August 16th. He’s reached base safely in 24 of his last 27 games.
C.J. Wilson took the mound for the Angels, and despite a slow start, picked up the win in his five inning, seven hit, three walk, six strikeout, three runs allowed performance.
“I felt the like the best thing I could do tonight was throw strikes and try to get ahead so I could put them in bad counts,” said Wilson. “With a lot of their hitters, I was in a bad count, but the biggest thing is that we scored a ton of runs.”
Wilson finished the fourth with 96 pitches, but Scioscia felt confident sending him out for the fifth, where Wilson put together a 1-2-3 inning on 11 pitches to finish his night.
“He finally looked like he committing pitches, or making them better in the fifth inning,” said Scioscia. “Starting off when you’re sitting on almost 30 pitches in the first inning, that’s not good. Obviously, he’s not trying to do that. It’s just a matter of commanding the fastball and trying to put guys away. He got some key outs.”
Wilson kept a mindset that his offense would spurn his performance, and as long as he avoided a big inning, the Angels would find a way to win.
“Our offense is on a role right now. Staying out of the big inning keeps them hungry and gives them a chance to go out there and win the game and that’s what happened tonight.”
The Angels bullpen, consisting of Mike Morin, Jairo Diaz, and Cam Bedrosian, came in and pitched four innings of two hit, shutout baseball. For Diaz, it was his Angel Stadium debut, and shined with his high 90’s fastball, tapping triple digits once in his performance.
“It felt so exciting, it was fun,” said Diaz. “I felt pretty good tonight.”
Friday night’s Angels’ bullpen were all pitchers that pitched in Single-A within the last 12 months.
“It just points to some prospects that are starting to develop.” said Scioscia. “We got a chance to look at [our talented prospects] in the back end of our game. It has to continue, you have to keep developing your own pitchers or you’re going to be behind in this game. It’s good to see the young guys start to take those strides forward to be part of our bullpen, and there’s some power arms, no doubt about it.”
The Angels have won nine straight games for the first time since August 18-27, 2004, and have won 15 of their last 17. They’ve scored seven or more runs in eight straight games, matching a franchise record (June 9-15, 1979).
The Angels moved 11 games up in the American League West after the Seattle Mariners defeated the Oakland Athletics, 4-2 on Friday night, picking up 14 games in their last 30 games.
Final from Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California:
Astros, 3 Angels, 11
W – C.J. Wilson (12-9, 4.61)
L – Brett Olberholtzer (5-11, 4.51)