After stitching together 16 runs over the last two games, the Los Angeles Angels offense hit a brick wall Tuesday. Luckily, utility infielder Ian Stewart led a ninth inning comeback that cultivated with an 8-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
The Angels took a first inning lead with Albert Pujols’ sacrifice fly that scored Kole Calhoun, and Raul Ibanez followed with a solo home run in the fourth. The designated hitter has come on strong lately, scoring two runs with three RBIs over the last two games.
Cubs pitching stymied the Angels offense from then on, taking a 4-2 advantage into the ninth. That was when Stewart and the Halos offense broke loose.
Stewart homered to lead off the final frame, adding to an impressive 3-5 day at the plate. He followed with a two-out RBI single to left that put the contest out of reach. With two reserve spots still up for grabs, Stewart made a strong case for himself and gave manager Mike Scioscia reason to give the six-year veteran another look.
Angels’ starter Brandon Lyon only lasted 1 1/3 innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits. Nevertheless, it was a good day for the right-hander who was named to the Angels’ Opening Day roster.
Cubs’ lefty Tsuyoshi Wada limited Angels hitters to two runs on four hits through four innings, lowering his ERA to 8.38. After releasing Wada last Sunday, Chicago re-signed the Japanese pitcher one day later. Both sides agreed to the transaction as a way of reaching a new deal.
The Angels wrap up their Cactus League schedule Wednesday as C.J. Wilson take the mound against Murphy Smith and the Oakland A’s.