BALTIMORE (AP) A frustrating night for Albert Pujols had a delightful ending.
Pujols hit an RBI single in the 13th inning, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Baltimore Orioles 1-0 Thursday to avert a three-game sweep.
Pujols grounded into double plays in each of his first two at-bats. In the 11th, the 34-year-old slugger hit a scorcher down the third-base line that Manny Machado snared in the top of the webbing before throwing to first from foul ground to beat Pujols by a step.
Then came the 13th.
Kole Calhoun drew a leadoff walk from Ryan Webb (3-2) and Mike Trout singled before Pujols singled through the drawn-in infield.
”Albert hit the ball hard every time up except one popup but had nothing really to show for it until he lined that single to center,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ”That’s what Albert is about. He keeps playing. Machado is a magician out there, took a couple of hits away from him.”
Hector Santiago (3-7) pitched two shutout innings and Huston Street got three outs for his fourth save since joining the Angels on July 18.
Appropriately, the game ended when Adam Jones hit a popup to Pujols at first base. After making the catch, he smiled, flipped the ball to teammate Howie Kendrick and looked toward the heavens.
Tyler Skaggs and six relievers combined on a five-hitter, and David Freese matched a career high with four hits to help Los Angeles improve to 3-10 in one-run games on the road.
Skaggs had a no-hitter with two outs in the fifth inning before leaving with left forearm tightness. He was replaced by Mike Morin, who immediately gave up a bloop single to Caleb Joseph.
The Orioles didn’t get another hit until Joseph singled leading off the eighth.
Each of Baltimore’s last six games has been decided by one run, four of them in extra innings. The Orioles fell to 12-4 in extra innings.
”All our pitchers I thought pitched pretty well,” manager Buck Showalter said. ”Unfortunately, they did, too. They’ve got an outstanding bullpen and our guys matched them for the most part.”
Baltimore starter Bud Norris scattered eight hits over seven innings, striking out four and walking one. The right-hander is 5-0 with a 0.43 ERA in six career starts against Los Angeles.
The Angels loaded the bases in the third before Pujols grounded into a double play for the second time. He made up for it later.
Despite the loss, the AL East-leading Orioles won the season series 4-2. All six games were decided by two runs or fewer.
Skaggs walked the first batter he faced, and then retired 14 straight before walking Steve Pearce in the fifth. The lefty threw one more pitch before leaving.
”It’s always a concern whenever your arm’s sore and can’t feel your fingers,” Skaggs said. ”I felt it was one of the better games I felt all year. It’s frustrating.”
Angels: Left-hander C.J. Wilson, who has been sidelined since July 10 with a sprained right ankle, is expected to return Saturday to start at Tampa Bay.
Orioles: First baseman Chris Davis (stomach virus) missed a third straight start but entered as the designated hitter in the ninth. He struck out and walked. Left-hander T.J. McFarland returned from bereavement leave and righty Preston Guilmet was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Angels: Matt Shoemaker, who went 3-1 in July, seeks to extend that run into a new month Friday night in the opener of a three-game series in Tampa Bay.
Orioles: Wei-Yin Chen (11-3) faces the Mariners, who send Roenis Elias (8-8) to the mound Friday night to start a three-game series. Baltimore took three of four from Seattle last week.
After Jones was picked off first base in the 11th, the Orioles called for a replay.
The call stood up.
”Safe. He never tagged him,” Showalter said. ”I don’t know what they’re looking at. I think we lead the league in stands. A paranoid man would worry more about it, an alert man would wonder about it. I do.”