Jul 9, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols (5) celebrates with center fielder Mike Trout (27) after hitting a two-run home run in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The Angels defeated the Blue Jays 8-7. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
At this point last season, Texas trailed Oakland by half a game for the division lead. The Los Angeles Angels, meanwhile, were ready to throw in the towel, nine back in the division and seven behind in the Wild Card standings.
How things change over the course of a year.
The Halos head into Arlington with 53 wins, good enough to lead the Wild Card chase. They padded a major league-best 32-15 home record by taking the series finale over Toronto Wednesday afternoon, thanks in large part to Albert Pujols go-ahead, two-run shot in the seventh inning. Texas, on the other hand, sits in unfamiliar territory, dwelling in the AL West cellar.
C.J. Wilson held a short-lived 3-1 lead entering the fourth inning. Blue Jays batters rocked the left-hander for five runs-two earned- on two errors. Wilson’s (8-6) bases loaded pitch got past Hank Conger, allowing Dioner Navarro to score. Third baseman Steve Tolleson followed with a bases-clearing single up the middle.
By the time Cam Bedroisan relived Wilson, Toronto had taken a 6-3 lead.
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Resilient as ever, the Angel fought back. David Freese scored on a wild pitch and Kole Calhoun tagged Marcus Stroman‘s third pitch over the right field fence, scoring C.J. Cron and tying the ballgame.
Pujols 20th homer of the season narrowly missed Colby Rasmus’ outstretched glove and bounced over the center field fence to give the Halos a 8-7 lead. Joe Smith shut the door on 2-1 series win with his 12th save.
The Angels end a 6-1 homestand having won every series at Angel Stadium since mid-May.
Santiago was knocked around for five runs over five innings against Houston last Saturday. Were it not for an eight-run seventh inning, Santiago would likely hold an 0-8 mark in his first season in Anaheim.
The southpaw yielded five runs on seven hits in loss to Texas earlier on May 2, ironically matching up with Colby Lewis that night. Still, he’s garnered success in Arlington; Santiago carries a 1.23 ERA three appearances, two coming in relief.
Lewis has strung together quality starts for the first time this season. He tossed six innings of two-run baseball over his last two starts. A June 29 start could have swayed Lewis’ way but for Minnesota’s game-deciding run in the top of the ninth.
Texas won Lewis’ start at Angel Stadium , though he didn’t factor in the decision. He’s had a tough time against the Halos over the last four years, maintaining a 2-3 record with a 3.71 ERA since 2010.
- Josh Hamilton is batting .120 over the last seven games.
- Pujols’ 512th home run yesterday tied him with Ernie Banks and Eddie Matthews on the All-Time list.
- Alex Rios has tattooed Santiago for two runs and four RBIs in six at-bats.
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