ANAHEIM, Calif. — This is what the Angels were expecting from themselves all along — a robust offense, steady pitching and a sense of confidence every time they take the field.
They didn’t get much of it in April, but now, in the season’s eighth week, the Angels are beginning to see what they can do when all their parts are flowing. They’re scoring runs and throwing well, and any sense of concern they once had has virtually faded.
“When everybody contributes, or at least enough guys, the individual pressures disappear,” Mark Trumbo said Wednesday.
The Angels’ 7-1 win over the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium was their season-high fourth consecutive win. They’ve outscored their opponents 37-12 during that span, are hitting .571 with runners in scoring position in their past two games and closed out their homestand with a 5-4 record.
They extended their winning streak to five after beating the Royals, 5-3, behind four home runs.
That might not sound like much, but given their horribly slow start — they were 9-17 in April — any small step feels like progress.
On Wednesday, the Angels scored five runs in the first inning, then added single runs in the second and third to give starter C.J. Wilson a sizable cushion that he carried through the eighth. In his previous two starts, both losses to the Chicago White Sox, Wilson was supported by zero runs.
With a big lead, he coasted.
But that’s what the Angels were expected to do this season; offense was going to be plentiful. With Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo, runs would not be a problem.
Except that they were. Hamilton got off to a slow start, Pujols didn’t produce, and the Angels struggled early.
Now they’re thriving.
“We’re getting a little bit of offensive chemistry,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “It’s good to see some guys feeling more comfortable in the batter’s box, and I think our lineup gets deep in a hurry when you have guys that are swinging the bat one through nine. That’s what we’re seeing right now.”
One night after he became the youngest player in American League history to hit for the cycle, Trout almost did it again. He singled in the first inning and tripled in the second but then took called third strikes his next two times up.
No one has ever hit for the cycle in consecutive games, but Trout conceded it crossed his mind after his triple.
“I thought about it,” he said. “But it’s tough to see in day games here, and some of the swings we were putting on the ball, you could tell how tough it was.”
Trumbo had three hits, and Trout, Pujols and Alberto Callaspo added two each. Even Hamilton, whose struggles at the plate have been monumental, was 1 for 2 and drew a couple of walks. He’s now hitting .225, just two points below his season high.
In the two-game sweep of the Mariners, the Angels scored 19 runs on 27 hits.
“That’s a lot of runs compared to what we’ve been doing,” Trumbo said. “These last two games have definitely been awesome, especially getting ahead early and seeing how our pitchers have responded to that.”
Wilson responded by taking a shutout into the eighth. Until then, he allowed only two base runners to reach second base.
“Our offense is really starting to click, and it makes your job much easier as a pitcher,” Wilson said. “I was just trying to basically throw first-pitch strikes, and Seattle was attacking a lot of first pitches and putting them in play.”
Scioscia added, “It definitely gives your pitcher an open canvas to do some things it’s tough to do in a tight game. One mistake isn’t going to tilt the game.”