Going 1-for-5 with men in scoring positing usually doesn’t win games. Wednesday night it did.
For a second it looked light it was going to be another one of those offense-less night for the Angels. They only managed an RBI sac fly off Philadelphia starter A.J. Burnett (6-13) and went 0-for-5 with men on base through the first five innings.
Albert Pujols began a sixth-inning rally with on a liner down the left field line. Josh Hamilton and Erick Aybar followed with walks, setting the table for hot-hitting Howie Kendrick. Kendrick’s blooper to right kicked up chalk to score Pujols and Hamilton. The second baseman’s five-game hit streak raises his batting average to .282 following a 1-for-14 Freeway Series.
Recent call-up Brennan Boesch notched his second RBI on a sharp groundball Jimmy Rollins couldn’t turn into a double play. Kendrick went into second base hard, throwing the shortstop off long enough for Boesch to beat out the throw. Aybar scored and the Angels took a 4-2 lead.
After ranking among American League leaders in most offensive categories through the first half, the Angels’ feeble post All-Star game hitting has them scoring a league low 3.36 runs per game. They’ve kept pace with Oakland because of their pitching.
Jered Weaver proved as much, completing six innings for the third straight outing while allowing two runs on six hits. The right-handers five strikeouts were his most since a July 23 victory over Baltimore.
Control wasn’t there for Weaver (13-7) early on. He needed 66 pitches to get through the first nine outs and allowed runners in scoring position through the first four frames. Marlon Byrd and Rollins’ early run-scoring singles were all the Phillies could muster off Weaver.
Following his two-run relief appearance Sunday, Joe Smith’s struggled continued into the week. The once-unshakable righty tossed a fastball in Grady Sizemore’s comfort zone, which the outfielder promptly lined down the right field line for a triple. Smith record his 12th hold of the season but gave Huston Street a smaller window for error.
The stalwart closer shut down the top of Philadelphia’s lineup in order to notch his eighth save since landing in Anaheim. He has yet to give up a run in 10 appearances.
The Halos have won nine straight over the Phillies, dating back to 2003. They move to 21 games over .500 with the 4-3 victory and to within 2 1/2 games of division-leading Oakland.