All-in-all, it turned out to be a wash. For now.
The Los Angeles Angels went into this weekend’s first of several showdown series with the team that’s not only ahead of them in the American League West standings, but were expected to be their main competition for division supremacy all season – the Texas Rangers – with a five-game deficit, and came out of the weekend the same way after winning two out of three games from the two-time defending American League champions.
Included in those two wins was a 7-4 victory at Angel Stadium yesterday evening in front of a national TV audience. Five Angels collected two hits each, including Mike Trout’s triple and Albert Pujols’ 18th home run. Pujols’ three RBIs and Trout scoring in his 14th consecutive game – setting an Angel and American League rookie record – along with Dan Haren’s solid outing coming off the disabled list (two runs on three hits in six innings of work) were sorely needed as Frieri got Rangers star Josh Hamilton to strike out with the bases loaded in the ninth to secure the win.
This win was important in the wake of the Rangers’ star Japanese import Yu Darvish owning the Angels on Saturday night, striking out 11 Halos in seven innings while his Texas teammates slugged three homers off of current sad sack Ervin Santana and five homers overall; two of the dingers came from the bat of former Angels catcher Mike Napoli as the Rangers scored a 9-2 smashing.
That beating was payback, I’m sure, for the Angels’ 6-1 win on Friday night, as the T & T kids, Trout and Mark Trumbo, slugged home runs in that triumph.
Mike Scioscia’s team will be entertaining Kansas City this coming week and Tampa Bay next weekend, but another showdown with the Rangers in Arlington, TX is looming. The way that these Angels are playing, with their record currently standing at 52-44, I expect this A.L. West race to come down to the end of September.