ANAHEIM, Calif. — Despite their inability to get a hit with runners in scoring position, the Los Angeles Angels managed to scrape together enough runs to get Jered Weaver a well-earned victory.
Kole Calhoun drew a bases-loaded walk from reliever Brian Matusz in the eighth inning after a tying RBI double by Erick Aybar, and the Angels pulled out a 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.
”Kole’s developed into a player that’s very comfortable in the batter’s box against righties or lefties, and he’s going to give you that tough at-bat,” manager Mike Scioscia said. ”He’s going to grind it out every which way, no matter what the situation is. He did a good job with the bases loaded. If he got a pitch in the zone, you’re confident he’s going to put a good swing on it. He didn’t get one this time and took his walk. That was a great at-bat.”
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The Angels, who came in leading the majors in runs scored, stranded two runners in scoring position in the first, fifth and sixth innings. The Angels were 0 for 12 in those situations Wednesday, and 3 for 25 during the three-game series.
Weaver (11-6) allowed two runs and six hits through eight innings, striking out six and walking none before the Angels recorded their major league-best 31st come-from-behind win. The right-hander won his fourth straight decision.
”My fastball command has been pretty good the last couple of games, and I feel like I’m getting stronger every time out,” Weaver said. ”So I just want to keep working on it and keep establishing it because it sets up everything else. It was nice to keep us in it, limit the pitch count early and get deep in the game. Then the offense took care of the rest later on.”
Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman allowed a run and five hits over six innings, stranded seven runners in scoring position and picked off another at second base before handing a 2-1 lead to Tommy Hunter.
Josh Hamilton led off the eighth with a bloop single off Hunter (2-2) and came all the way around on Aybar’s double to left-center. A two-out intentional walk to Efren Navarro and another walk to Chris Iannetta loaded the bases for Calhoun, who walked on a 3-1 pitch.
”I don’t think it really got away from me. I thought I pitched pretty well,” Hunter said. ”I didn’t feel like I was just missing. I felt like I was making pretty quality pitches and they just didn’t swing at them. They got a hit and a couple of walks. That’s the way the story unfolded tonight.”
Huston Street pitched a hitless ninth for his first save since joining the Angels last Friday in a trade with the San Diego Padres.
Baltimore took a 2-1 lead in the sixth when David Lough singled with two outs, stole second and scored on Adam Jones’ flare to short right field. Eight of the Orioles’ 10 runs in the series came with two outs.
Ryan Flaherty, starting at third base for the second straight game because of Manny Machado’s stiff back, made a diving backhanded stop of Mike Trout’s first-inning grounder behind the bag but couldn’t get the throw to first in time. Trout scored on Albert Pujols’ single high off the 18-foot wall in right-center.
”That’s a do-or-die play with him,” Flaherty said of Trout’s infield hit. ”When he hits a ball like that you’ve got to hope he trips in order to get him out.”
Pujols’ RBI was his 31st in his last 34 games and 66th this season. The three-time NL MVP had at least 100 RBIs in 10 of his first 11 big league seasons. The only exception was 2011, when he had 99.
”Albert’s important to us. We don’t need him to carry us, but we need him to do what he’s capable of. And we’re seeing it,” Scioscia said. ”Albert’s last 50 at-bats, I think you’re able to see that he’s been able to use the whole field and he’s finding that swing. Tonight he drove the ball to right-center to score Mike and then hit a double down the line.”
The Orioles tied it in the third on a two-out RBI single by Nick Markakis after Flaherty hit a ground-rule double and tagged up on Nick Hundley’s fly ball.
NOTES: Pujols’ cousin, former major league catcher and coach Luis Pujols, currently manages the Orioles’ Single-A Carolina League farm club in Frederick, Maryland. … Tillman’s 32 victories since July 4, 2012 are the second-most in the majors behind reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer whom the Angels are scheduled to face Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series with Detroit. … The Angels placed OF Grant Green on the 15-day DL, retroactive to July 21, because of a back strain and recalled 1B/OF C.J. Cron from Triple-A Salt Lake.