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4/29-Hunter and Morales’ Homers Give Angels 2-Game Sweep of O’s

morales hunterThe Angels kicked off an 8-game road trip on the right foot after completing a 2-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles, with a 3-2 win today.

Shane Loux (1-2) would get his first major league win since the 2003 season after giving up 1 run on 5 hits in 6 innings pitched, striking out 3.

The bullpen would give up only 1 run in 3 innings of work today, with Brian Fuentes notching his 5th save in 6 opportunities.

For the Orioles, Koji Uehara (2-2) would receive the loss after going 6 1/3 innings, giving up 3 runs on 7 hits and striking out 5 Halo batters.

Torii Hunter and Kendry Morales would hit back-to-back taters in the 7th inning, with the 2nd blast giving the Halos a 3-1 lead, and that 3rd run would be all the run support needed for the win.

The Halos are now on a 3-game winning streak, pushing their record to 9-11 and the Orioles drop to 9-13 after starting the season at 6-3.

Game Notes

Shane Loux gave the Angels his strongest start of the season after throwing 6 innings of 1-run ball. Loux only went 4 innings in his last outing against the Mariners after giving up 7 runs on 11 hits but really settled down and gave the Angels a great effort today to complete a 2-game road sweep of the O’s.

The hot hitting continues, notching another game of 10 or more hits today (10 on the game). Torii Hunter, Kendry Morales and Jeff Mathis would each have 2 hits on the game.

Torii Hunter and Kendry Morales would hit crucial back-to-back solo home runs in the 7th inning to have the Angels go from tied at 1 apiece to ahead by a score of 3-1. Hunter hit his team-leading 8th home run of the season today (April 29th), when he didn’t hit his 8th home run last season until June 9th, and Morales’ jack was his 3rd round-tripper on the season. KMo went 4-for-8 with 2 doubles, 1 triple and 1 home run in the 2-game series, posting 4 RBI and upping his season average to .288.

The bullpen would nail it down, but it wouldn’t come without a shaky start to the 8th inning with Jose Arredondo. Justin Speier struck out 2 Orioles in a 1-2-3 7th inning, but Arredondo led off the 8th by giving up an infield single to Adam Jones, and then allowed him to take 2nd base on a wild pitch. Nick Markakis would knock in the speedy Jones on a single to right, cutting the Halo lead to 3-2. Arredondo would then gather himself, strike out Aubrey Huff to make it one out, Jeff Mathis would throw out Nick Markakis trying to steal 2nd base for the 2nd out, and then Luke Scott would strike out looking to end the inning.

Brian Fuentes would come in for a save opportunity in the 9th, and would retire all 3 Oriole batters to give the Angels a 3-2 win.

An Oriole note, Nick Markakis pushed his hitting streak to 16 games today, the longest currently in the MLB.

Halo of the Game Review and Pick

4/29 Halo of the Game Pick: Kendry Morales

Stat Line: 2-4, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 HR, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 LOB

Morales had an RBI triple to deep center in the 4th inning to tie up the game at 1-1, but his solo homer to straightaway center field would give the Angels a much needed 3rd run as insurance. Morales has been on fire in the past week, with 2 home runs, 9 RBI, and a .321 average in that span. He’s been seeing the ball better and really putting good wood on it just like he did all throughout Spring Training.

Current Halo of the Game Hit Streak: 6 (season-long: 8 games)

Halo of the Game Season Hitting Statistics:

17 G-.365 avg. (23-63), 3 HR, 11 RBI, 13 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 10 K, 10 BB, 5 SB

Tomorrow’s Halo of the Game Pick: Torii Hunter

The Angels now head to New York for a 4-game set with the Yankees.

Tomorrow’s game at New York against the Yankees is scheduled for 4:05 Pacific Time (7:05 Eastern).

Anthony Ortega or Matt Palmer will be the starter for the Halos, as Palmer was initially scheduled to be the starter today in Baltimore, and AJ Burnett will take the hill for the Bronx Bombers.

Go Halos!

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4/28-Angels Hold Off Orioles 7-5 in 1st of 2-Game Set

fuentes hunterJoe Saunders, a native of nearby Virginia, had around 20 family members in attendance at Camden Yards Tuesday to root him on, and he his squad was not about to disappoint the Saunders faithful.

Saunders came in to Tuesday’s game at a perfect 4-0 lifetime against the Baltimore Orioles, and remained perfect with today’s outcome. Saunders wouldn’t have his most brilliant outing of the year, going 6 innings, while allowing 4 runs (only 2 of them earned) on 10 hits, while punching out only 1 Oriole batter.

As I had mentioned in my article earlier today, the Angels needed to get good efforts from guys like Howie Kendrick, Kendry Morales, Chone Figgins and Mike Napoli to name a few, in order to be successful.

KMo, Figgy and Nap would each have two hits on the game, and Kendrick would have a 2-run jack for the Halos en route to a 7-5 victory.

More importantly, the bullpen did a great job of closing the door on the O’s on their 1st game of an 8-game road trip.

Joe Saunders (3-1) would be the winning pitcher in Tuesday’s contest, while Adam Eaton (1-3) would be on the losing end after giving up 5 runs in 6 innings of work.

Brian Fuentes would notch his 4th save of the year in 5 opportunities after starting the inning with a leadoff home run to Adam Jones, his 4th of the year.

The Halos move to 8-11 on the year, and Baltimore drops to 9-12, losing 10 of their last 13 games.

Game Notes

The Angels became the last team in Major League Baseball to win back-to-back games. The Angels couldn’t quite seem to ring up consecutive wins until the 18th and 19th games of the season, but for the first time this year, the Angels have a quote-unquote “winning streak” going.

The Angels would knock 7 extra-base hits in this game (6 doubles, 1 home run), with 11 hits altogether. This marks the 6th time in the last 7 games that the Angels have collectively had 10 or more hits in a single contest.

Howie Kendrick had a big 2-run homer in the 4th inning off of Eaton to tie up the game at 4-4. Kendrick would only go 1-for-4 on the night, but his tater makes it back-to-back games with a home run. 8 of HK’s 16 RBI on the season have come in the past 3 games. He’s now the club’s RBI leader with his total of 16.

Kendry Morales would go 2-for-4 with 2 doubles, 2 RBI and 1 run scored. KMo hit a crucial 2-run double in the 7th inning to push the Angels’ lead to 7-4. Morales now has 8 RBI in his last 5 games, and pushed his average up to .275 for the year.

Lots of Angels with a multi-hit game today, 4 to be exact.

Chone Figgins went 2-for-3 with 2 walks, 2 runs scored and 2 stolen bags. Mighty Maicer would go 2-for-5, with 2 runs scored and 1 RBI. The aforementioned Kendry Morales would go 2-for-4 with 2 RBI and a run scored. And lastly, Mike Napoli would go 2-for-4 as well.

The bullpen would finally look 90% competent. Not all the way, but I’d say about 90%.

Jose Arredondo would pitch a scoreless 7th inning, surrendering only 1 hit and striking out 2 Oriole hitters.

Scot Shields (…gulp) oddly enough wouldn’t even give up a hit in the 8th, but would end up walking 1 batter. More importantly, Shieldsy didn’t give up a run… and that now pushes his ERA below 10.00! Yay! Now that’s some progress/change that he can believe in.

Brian Fuentes would allow a leadoff home run in the 9th inning to an emerging player in 23-year-old Adam Jones. Jones has been off to a scorching start this year, and I’m really thinking that this kid is going to have a special career. But on to the rest of the 9th inning, Fuentes would retire the 3-4-5 hitters in Nick Markakis, Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora, to end the game and give the Angels the 7-5 W.

The overall plate discipline from the leadoff spot to the 9-hole hitter is improving. The Angels drew 6 walks today, an overwhelming amount by Angels standards. This is a team that has had the free-swinging mentality ever since Mike Scioscia became the Halos’ skipper back in 2000. Bobby Abreu has been known throughout his career as being a guy who sees more pitches per at-bat on average than any other hitter in the league, and his eye at the plate is beginning to rub off on other guys. Chone Figgins drew only 62 walks as the leadoff hitter in 116 games last year, but this year he’s drawn 14 walks in a mere 18 contests, allowing Scioscia to let Figgy run free on the basepaths much more often.

Halo of the Game Review and Pick

4/28 Halo of the Game Pick: Chone Figgins

Stat Line: 2-3, 0 RBI, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 BB, 0 K, 0 LOB, 2 SB

Figgy got on base in 4 of his 5 plate appearances in Tuesday’s game (2 hits, 2 walks), and was able to swipe 2 bags, making him 9-for-10 in steal attempts on the year. He set the table today by getting on base, and was able to score twice, and it’s a documented fact that the Angels have a higher probability of winning if Figgins scores at least 1 run in a game compared to not scoring. Great game today on the part of Figgy.

Current Halo of the Game Hit Streak: 5 (season-high – 8 games)

Halo of the Game Season Batting Statistics

16 G – .356 avg. (21-59), 2 HR, 9 RBI, 12 R, 5 2B, 0 3B, 9 K, 10 BB, 5 SB

Tomorrow’s Halo of the Game Pick: Kendry Morales

Tomorrow’s Probables

Baltimore will send out 34-year-old Japanese right-hander Koji Uehara (4 starts: 2-1, 4.56 ERA). Uehara is labeled as a rookie despite being 34 years old, due to this being his 1st year in the MLB after spending the last 10 seasons as a member of the Yomiuri Giants. Uehara put together an impressive record of 112-62 with an ERA of 3.01 in those 10 seasons in the Japanese League.

The Halos tabbed Matt Palmer (1 start: 1-0, 6.00 ERA) as tomorrow’s starter. The 30-year-old journeyman Palmer went 6 innings in his first career start with the Angels against Detroit, giving up 4 earned runs in an eventual 10-5 Angel win last Thursday.

Tomorrow’s day game in Baltimore against the Orioles is scheduled for 9:35 a.m. Pacific time (12:35 p.m. Eastern). I’ll still be asleep, but I’m hoping I can wake up to Angel win!

Go Halos!

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