Orioles 1, Angels 0
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)
Although Jeremy Guthrie graciously accepted his teammates' postgame high-fives and back slaps, the right-hander knew he didn't deserve all the credit for the last-place Baltimore Orioles' third straight dominant win over the Angels.
Guthrie realizes Los Angeles is mired in an offensive slump that made his good stuff look even better.
Guthrie allowed four hits while pitching into the ninth inning, and two relievers finished the Orioles' 1-0 victory Sunday to complete Baltimore's six-game season sweep of the struggling Angels.
Luke Scott scored on Matt Wieters' sacrifice fly in the seventh for the Orioles, who are now just 35 games under .500 (48-83) after limiting the Angels to one run in three games. The majors' second-worst team finished up its most successful road trip of the season with its first back-to-back shutouts since 2007.
Guthrie still wasn't doing any cartwheels, even after outdueling Angels ace Jered Weaver.
''I pitched well, but I can't say it's the best I've thrown this year,'' said Guthrie, who pitched through lower-back tightness after the sixth inning. ''It's an indication of where we are as a team. They don't beat themselves often, so it means we pitched well and defended well. ... And our (pitchers) shut those guys down the past two days, and those guys can get in a funk, too.''
With three wins apiece on each coast in August, manager Buck Showalter's team swept the season series from the Angels for the first time by either club in a half-century of competition.
After Brad Bergesen and Kevin Millwood mastered the Angels in the first two games, Guthrie (8-13) was even better. The 2009 AL leader in losses (17) fell just short of his first career shutout while winning a brisk matchup with Weaver (11-10), who struck out 11 - including his 200th of the season - during eight innings of five-hit ball.
''If you look back the last few years I've been here, it's almost been contagious in the opposite direction sometimes,'' said Guthrie, who gave up 11 earned runs in his previous two starts. ''Hopefully we can continue this, have a nice September, and build toward 2011.''
Guthrie allowed just one runner to reach third base until Reggie Willits hustled for a one-out double in the ninth and advanced on Howie Kendrick's single. But reliever Michael Gonzalez struck out Bobby Abreu, and Torii Hunter popped out on Koji Uehara's only pitch in his fourth save.
The Orioles swept three games from the Angels at Camden Yards earlier this month after Showalter took over as manager. At 16-11 in August, they'll finish this month with a winning record for the first time since 1997 - their first winning record in any month since June 2008.
''(Weaver) is a good pitcher no matter where he's pitching,'' said Showalter, who also downplayed the sweep's significance to his rebuilding club. ''So to beat him, you know it's going to have to be a good game like that.''
After the Angels' first back-to-back shutout losses since June 2008, the three-time defending AL West champions are scoreless in a season-worst 26 straight innings. A season that went wrong almost from the start is now getting ugly for Los Angeles, which scored its only run against Baltimore on a first-inning balk Friday night.
''It's the worst, ever,'' Hunter said after manager Mike Scioscia held a brief team meeting in the closed clubhouse. ''These last three games have been just terrible. Offensively, this might be rock bottom. We can only go up from here. We've been looking at ourselves for a long time, trying to figure it out. We've tried to make changes (in the lineup), and it's just not working out.''
Neither team even got a runner to third base until the sixth, when Kendrick grounded into an inning-ending double play with two runners on. After Scott and Ty Wigginton led off the seventh with hits off Weaver, Wieters' one-out fly was plenty deep to score Scott.
The Angels have been shut out in each of Weaver's last three starts.
''Any time you go out there and you're worried about giving up a solo home run that might be the difference in the game, it's never a good feeling to pitch like that,'' Weaver said. ''But you just go out there and keep battling, try to pitch your game and try to keep us in it.''
NOTES: Baltimore's Josh Bell was called out at home plate in the sixth after a collision with Angels C Jeff Mathis. ''He was safe,'' Showalter said coolly. ... Orioles 2B Julio Lugo drew a leadoff walk, but left the game after Weaver's pickoff throw hit him in the helmet. Lugo, who wanted to stay in the game, had a CAT scan which revealed no serious injuries, but Showalter said the Orioles will be cautious with his return. ... Angels 3B Alberto Callaspo's 13-game hitting streak ended.