Aybar Sparks Angels Comeback Win Against Rays


In the second-half of 2013, Roberto Hernandez has given up 35 hits in 29 1/3 innings with an ERA of 5.22. So naturally, he would weave a near gem against the Los Angeles Angels tonight, scattering 8 hits in 6 1/3 innings and allow just 3 runs, two of which crossed after Hernandez was out of the game. However, despite the strong outing, it would not prove enough.

Aug 27, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Los Angeles Angels shortstop

Erick Aybar

(2) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It didn’t help the Angels that C.J. Wilson hit the 110 pitch count by the fifth inning, leaving the Angels bullpen to do the rest of the work in hopes of keeping the Angels in the game against the Rays. And as they have done all season, the bullpen bled some runs. After Cory Rasmus gave up a lead-off double to Ben Zobrist, he then strike out Evan Longoria.

But then Mike Scioscia began to play match-up and had Rasmus intentionally walk Will Myers. David DeJesus came in and grounded out to second allowing Zobrist and Myers to move up a base. Scioscia went to the pen and brought in Buddy Boshers. Then Scioscia made the peculiar decision of walking Yunel Escobar so Boshers could face the left-handed hitting James Loney. Makes sense in theory but Loney is batting .311/.351/.418 against lefties this year. And sure enough, the peculiar decision didn’t work out as Loney singled, knocking in two and driving the score up to 5-1 Rays.

The Angels answered back in the next inning but failed to do more damaged after back to back strikeouts of Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton with two men on base. Tip your cap to Jose Molina‘s known ability to frame pitches for those Ks. No, really. Check out the called third strike against Hamilton:

Michael Kohn and Ernesto Frieri combined for two shut-out innings in the 8th and 9th respectively. Given the Angels a real opportunity to make a comeback in the 9th against former Angels pitcher Fernando Rodney.

Grant Green led off with a ninth, but the Angels seemed doomed when Peter Bourjos hit what looked to be a tailor-made double play. But a hard slide by Green into second and a speedy Bourjos kept the outs to one. Then Bourjos stole second and J.B. Shuck followed with a flair hit into center that he hustled into a double after centerfielder Desmond Jennings misplayed the ball. Erick Aybar followed with a shot to left-center allowing Shuck and Bourjos to score putting the Angels up 6-5. Aybar ended the night with four RBI, tying his career high.

Dane De la Rosa came in to close it up but made things interesting by promptly walking Yunel Escobar and then went down 3 and 0 on James Loney leading to Angels fans grabbing for the Tums. But before the bottle could be emptied De La Rosa had shut the door after a long warning track shot by Loney and then a game-ending double play by pinch hitter Matt Joyce.

A comeback win for the Angels, who have now won four in a row.