The Los Angeles Angels’ bullpen is no longer a weakness.
Six Halo relievers combined to shut out Baltimore through 8 1/3 innings Thursday night en route to a hard-fought 1-0 victory. They yielded one run in the three-game series while striking out 17 Orioles.
Angels’ starter Tyler Skaggs struck out his first two batters in the fifth before immediately signaling to the dugout. The young right-hander exited with left forearm tightness, leaving a 4 2/3 inning no-hitter in what was turning into a stellar outing. His seven punch outs were the most since a May 31 start in Oakland.
Mike Morin, Kevin Jepsen, Joe Smith, and Cory Rasmus took the reins from there, scattering three hits through the first 10 frames. A rejuvenated Hector Santiago followed with two consistent, albeit shaky, innings.
Santiago breezed through the 11th before walking Chris Davis. With two out, Steve Pearce singled and Nick Hundley walked on five pitches to load the bases. Jonathan Schoop- Baltimore’s No. 9 hitter- ended the rally with a 3-2 strikeout, giving Santiago (3-7) a reprieve.
The Angels were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position, leaving 11 men on base. The only bright spot was David Freese whose four-single night raised his batting average by .10 points.
Orioles starter Bud Norris continued his dominance over Los Angeles by blanking them through seven innings. The former Houston Astro carries a 0.43 ERA in 41 2/3 innings against the Halos.
A one-out, bases-loaded scenario in the third inning ended with an Albert Pujols double play ball. In the 13th, Pujols redeemed himself.
Kole Calhoun led off with a four-pitch walk and hustled to third on Mike Trout’s single to left. Pujols drove a hard slider into center field, scoring Calhoun to garner a slim 1-0 lead. It was Pujols’ first RBI since last Wednesday and third multi-hit game against the O’s this year.
Huston Street-the team’s only major in-season acquisition- notched his 28th save tossing a seamless 13th inning. Facing the heart of Baltimore’s order, he forced Nick Markakis to ground out and struck out Manny Machado on a slider that tailed into the dirt. Street got Adam Jones to chase a similar pitch for a game-ending pop out.
The Angels snap a two-game losing streak and gain half a game on idle Oakland. Of their 13 games played after the All-Star break, all but one have been decided by less than three runs.
Three of Los Angeles’ seven shutout came in July.