Raul Ibanez Lead Angels Past Nationals

By Jose Serrano

Apr 21, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Angels pinch hitter Raul Ibanez (28) hits a three run RBI double during the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. The Angels won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

For once, the Angels were on the receiving end of an error. Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond fumbled two grounders and the Halos took advantage, scoring four runs in the eighth inning en route to a 4-2 victory in our nation’s capital.

Garrett Richard matched Nationals’ starter Tanner Roark pitch-for-pitch. His maturity has never been more apparent, wiggling out of multiple jams while allowing his only earned run on a fielder’s choice. Richards’ doesn’t get the win but did more than enough to keep the team in contention.

An Angel hadn’t crossed home plate since the first inning of yesterday’s game in Detroit. Their fortunes changed on Desmond’s second error of the night. Albert Pujols reached on what should have been a routine out to short and Howie Kendrick‘s single placed Pujols on third. Erick Aybar followed with a single to right, tying the contest and snapping a 15-inning scoreless streak.

Chris Iannetta walked to load the bases for pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez. The 41-year-old slugger launched Tyler Clippard’s changeup into a gap in left-center field, clearing the bases and giving the Halos a 4-1 lead. It was Ibanez’s first hit since last Wednesday’s game against Oakland.

“(Ibanez) has been around the block, he knows the batter’s box, and he has the experience,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said in a post-game interview that aired on Fox Sports West. “Even though he’s not swinging the bat well so far this month, you can see he’s dangerous. He can do what he did tonight, it’s a huge hits for us. It’s good to see Raul get one to fall in.”

Aybar appeared to snap out of his season-long slump, reaching on two singles and a double. The shortstop raised his batting average to .209. Pujols went 0-for-5 at the plate but stole a base for the first time since July 7, 2013.

Ernest Frieri earns the save, albeit after a shaky outing. Desmond took the closer’s second pitch to the deepest part of the ballpark to make to get the Nationals one run closer. Frieri four homers allowed come in under nine innings of work.