Aug 21, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; (Editor
Just when Angels hitters seemed like they couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat, the AL West leaders broke loose in a four-run fourth-inning Thursday night en route to a 5-4 victory over Minnesota.
Howie Kendrick’s two-RBI double snapped a nine-inning scoreless streak, dating back to their series finale in Houston.
It wasn’t all pretty for the Halos. Hector Santiago swerved in an out of trouble early on until shortstop Eduardo Nunez tagged the lefty for a game-tying, three-run homer in the sixth. Santiago avoided yet another loss-he hasn’t been tagged with one since early June-despite allowing four runs over five innings.
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September call-up Tony Campana prove to be the hero on a night when Los Angeles’ 2-3-4 hitters couldn’t muster an RBI. In the ninth, Campana pinch-ran for David Freese and scored on Chris Iannetta’s sac fly to left field. Huston Street earned his 36th save and snapped the team’s two-game skid.
Angels’ starters have limited opponents to three or fewer earned runs in 21 of the last 24 games. Amid Garrett Richards’ absence, the rotation sits among AL leaders in wins, ERA, strikeouts, and opponent batting average.
The pitching staff as a whole has been stellar since the All-Star break. They’ve given up more than five runs in a single game just six times since July 18. They’ve either shut out or limited an opponent to one run 10 times in that span.
A lot of credit goes to a revamped bullpen, as it does to the five starters.
One pitcher especially stands out. In fact, he stood out so much in spring training manager Mike Scioscia made him one of the last selections to the opening day roster.
With the Halos lead the Majors in victories, one can only wonder where they would be without Matt Shoemaker.
Pitching Matchup: Matt Shoemaker (14-4, 3.14 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (5-10, 5.96 ERA)
The only difference between Shoemaker and the Halo legends is that he still has three or four starts left in 2014.
Shoemaker stifled Oakland hitters through seven innings, scattering five hits while striking out seven. It was the cultivation of a 6-1 August that saw Shoemaker become just the fourth pitcher to nab both American League Rookie of the Month and Pitcher of the Month honors.
He posted a 1.31 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings last month, and the only loss was a 2-1 decision against the Dodgers. Shoemaker faces a hot-hitting Minnesota for the first time in his career. He carries a 23 1/3-inning scoreless streak into Friday night’s matchup at Target Field.
Ricky Nolasco is looking to recover from an abysmal start at Angel Stadium in June. He yielded six runs on 11 hits in six innings in his first-ever start at The Big A.
The righty has struggled to find consistency since. Nolasco notched season-highs in both runs and hits in Minnesota’s 12-8 loss in Baltimore last weekend. His ERA hasn’t been 5.49 all season and he’s hit at least two batters in each of the last two outings.
- Albert Pujols is 12-for-22 with three home runs and 10 RBIs lifetime against Nolasco.
- The Angels are 4-6 at Target Field, dating back to 2012.
- Josh Hamilton left in the eighth inning of Thursday’s game after running his hand into first base while diving back.
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