ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Angels couldn’t get the big hit when they needed it Wednesday night, so they settled for the big walk.
Two of them, in fact.
They were patient when they needed to be, and it paid off. It allowed them to beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 at Angel Stadium and salvage the third game of the series after losing the first two.
"We’re always battling, and we showed it again tonight," pitcher Jered Weaver said.
Somehow, the Angels keep finding ways. Of their 60 victories this season, this was the 31st in which they have come from behind, most in the majors. Their offense has been sluggish since the second half started after the All-Star break, but they know if they keep grinding, they’ll give themselves a chance to win.
They were 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position Wednesday after entering the game hitting .191 (9 for 47) in those situations on their current homestand. That’s not an encouraging statistic.
"You’re not going to fire on all cylinders all the time," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We did not execute well in this series in the situational component. We didn’t get our bunts down, we didn’t get guys over when we had a chance. That’s going to happen."
So the Angels relied on key hits and their patience, at least in this instance.
Down 2-1 entering the eighth inning, they got a bloop single from Josh Hamilton and a line double into the gap in left center from Erick Aybar that tied the game.
Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter struck out Howie Kendrick and David Freese, then intentionally walked left-handed-hitting Efren Navarro.
But Chris Iannetta drew a walk to load the bases, and leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun, facing lefty Brian Matusz, walked on five pitches to force in the go-ahead run.
"I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit," Calhoun said. "The strike he threw was definitely his pitch, a tough inside corner, a little sink on his fastball. I was looking for a pitch and never really got it. I don’t know if it was laying off good pitches there, but I didn’t get what I was looking for."
Clearly, the Angels are concerned with their difficulties with men at second and third, but they’re trying not to panic.
"It looks like 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position, but I thought we hit the ball really well with runners on base," Scioscia said. "In the eighth inning, it was a big hit from Josh to get it going. Erick did a great job. He split the gap, which brought Josh home."
We’re always battling, and we showed it again tonight
-- Jered Weaver
It turned an apparent loss into a win for Weaver, who gave up just two runs in eight innings for his 11th victory, matching his total for last season.
Newly added Huston Street finished up the ninth, picking up his first save with the Angels since last Friday’s trade with the San Diego Padres.
Now the Detroit Tigers come to Anaheim for a three-game series that should test the Angels again. Situational hitting will likely be important.
"Lately we haven’t been getting that big hit, but the important thing is we have the runners on base, and it’s right there," Calhoun said. "Having those big innings, those big games, aren’t far away."