Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Angels complete perfect homestand

ASSOCIATED PRESS Angels´ Albert Pujols (left) celebrates with Mike Trout after scoring in the first inning.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Angels' Albert Pujols (left) celebrates with Mike Trout after scoring in the first inning.
ALBERT PUJOLS is thrilled to have a reason to forget about his first two disappointing seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. His club is on a roll this summer, and he's hoping the ride extends all the way to October.

Pujols and Mike Trout drove in two runs apiece, Jered Weaver pitched seven strong innings, and the Angels completed a perfect homestand with a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins yesterday.

Pujols had three hits and Josh Hamilton drove in a run to help the Angels win their season-best sixth straight and move a season-high 11 games over .500 (44-33).

"We've been playing really good the past couple of weeks," Pujols said. "You just need to take advantage of a stretch. It doesn't matter where you win as long as you get those wins. We're playing great at home, but we'll take them in any stadium."

Trout had two doubles, including a two-run drive down the leftfield line in the seventh, during the Angels' 15th win in their last 17 games in Anaheim, where they have the majors' best home record. Los Angeles swept Texas and Minnesota to complete its first unbeaten homestand with at least six games since May 2004.

"We're starting to do some of the things we can do on the offensive side, and we've got to keep it rolling," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Albert, when he's swinging it well, he's going to square balls up like that. He got some big hits and got us going."

Weaver (8-6) yielded eight hits - all singles - and struck out six in another dominant start against the Twins. The righthander, who threw a no-hitter against Minnesota in 2012, has given up one run in 24 innings while striking out 24 in his last three home meetings with the Twins.

Weaver improved to 7-0 in eight career starts against Minnesota, striking out the side on 12 pitches in the first inning and rarely struggling until the sixth. He snapped a three-start winless streak with plenty of offense from his teammates, who scored 35 runs on the homestand.

"Offensively, we didn't do too much," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Weaver was like we've seen him before. In this ballpark, we all know it's tough to see the ball in day games, and he made it tough on us.

After Minnesota loaded the bases against Ernesto Frieri in the ninth, Mauer cleared them with a two-strike double off Joe Smith, who then struck out Kendrys Morales for his seventh save.

Joe Mauer hit a three-run double with two outs in the ninth for the Twins, who followed up a four-game sweep of the White Sox by getting swept in Anaheim. Mauer and Chris Parmelee had three hits apiece, but Minnesota yielded 32 hits in the three-game series.

"They've got some good hitters," Gardenhire said of the Angels. "Those big boys come up in big situations, and they can do some things."

Ricky Nolasco (4-6) yielded 11 hits and six runs while pitching into the seventh inning of his fourth straight winless start.

In AL games

* At Toronto, Adam Lind had three hits and three RBI, J.A. Happ (7-4) pitched a season-high 7 2/3 innings and the Blue Jays beat the Chicago White Sox, 7-0.

* At Arlington, Rick Porcello (10-4) pitched a three-hitter for his first career shutout as the Detroit Tigers beat the skidding Texas Rangers, 6-0, for their seventh consecutive victory. It was only the second complete game for Porcello in 164 major league starts - all for the Tigers since 2009. The righthander has won at least 10 games in each of his six seasons.

In NL games

* At Pittsburgh, hot-hitting rookie Gregory Polanco homered and drove in four runs, resurgent righthander Vance Worley (2-0) pitched seven stingy innings, and the Pirates beat the New York Mets, 5-2.

Polanco drove in the game's first run with a groundout in the first inning, then lined a three-run homer into the rightfield stands in the fifth to put the Pirates ahead 5-1. The rightfielder went 2-for-3 with a walk and is hitting .338 in 16 games since being called up from Triple A Indianapolis on June 10.

* At Chicago, Justin Ruggiano's two-out, two-run double broke a tie in the seventh inning, leading the Cubs to a 5-3 victory over the Washington Nationals.

In interleague

* At Houston, Matt Dominguez broke out of a slump with a three-run home run and rookie George Springer also homered to back up seven strong innings by Jarred Cosart in the Astros' 6-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Dominguez help the Astros avoid a series sweep, snapping an 0-for-23 skid with his two-out shot to left-centerfield off Mike Minor (2-5) that made it 5-1 in the fifth inning.

Cosart (8-5) allowed six hits and a run for his fourth straight victory.

Springer's solo homer off Juan Jaime in the seventh to pushed the lead to 6-1. He has 15 homers this season, the most by a rookie in franchise history before the All-Star Break.

Noteworthy

* The Padres honored Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn with a memorial at Petco Park last night, attended by MLB dignitaries, former teammates and approximately 20,000 fans. Gwynn died June 16 from oral cancer, a disease he attributed to years of chewing tobacco. He was 54.

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