The Angels came off the All Star break exactly how anyone would want a team, winning and winning well. Two of the three games of the 3-game sweep by the Halos were won by 7 runs, with a 1-0 victory coming in game two.
Game 1: Hector Santiago (7-4) vs. Miguel Gonzalez (2-5)
Hector Santiago came to play against his former team as he tossed 7.0 scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out seven. By the time JC Ramirez came in to pitch in the 8th, there was little need to worry as he inherited a seven run cushion. Fernando Salas came in to pitch the 9th for the sake of getting some game work in, but the win was already well in line at that point.
The first two innings were completely silent for the Halos, but the fireworks began in the bottom of the 3rd when Ji-Man Choi lead the inning off with a single, and two batters later he was moved to second by a ground ball in the four-hole by Andrelton Simmons. Yunel Escobar then singled to left to bring in Choi. Kole Calhoun followed up with a double to right to bring in Escobar. The Angels’ lineup was then kept at bay until the 7th when they put up five runs that inning. The 7th began with a double to right by Daniel Nava, and then Johnny Giavotella reached on an error and moved Todd Cunningham, who was pinch running for Nava, to third. Jefry Marte then pinch hit for Ji-Man Choi and delivered an RBI double to center and moved Giavotella to third. The Halos then had four consecutive scoring at bats: Geovany Soto singled to right scoring Giavotella, Andrelton Simmons singled to right to score Marte, and Yunel Escobar reached on an infield single, but a scoring error moved up all runners and scored Soto. Kole Calhoun then grounded into a double play but scored Simmons in the process. Mike Trout walked and then Albert Pujols struck out to end the inning.
\Ji-Man Choi crosses home during the third inning against the White Sox (photo by Harry How/Getty Images)Final Score: Angels 7 White Sox 0
The bats came out on fire after the All Star break, and from players that most would not expect. Of course Trout was still solid but Andrelton Simmons and Jefry Marte had great games. What was best about this game was the even though the Halos came to hit, which they sometimes do, it was not an offensive battle because the pitching was there as well.
Game 2: Matt Shoemaker (5-9) vs. James Shields (2-4)
Matt Shoemaker was absolutely lights out in the second game of this series as he went the distance, allowing just six hits and fanning 13 Sox. This game was absolutely his best start in a while and is exciting for Angels’ fans to see just how good Shoemaker really is. The best part, however, was that he held true through all 9.0 innings with just a one run lead the entire game.
A leadoff triple by Yunel Escobar along with an RBI groundout by Mike Trout ended up being the deciding run in the bottom of the first. The Halos only mustered two hits the entire game; a double by Ji-Man Choi in the 8th was the only other hit. However, it was enough to win it.
Final Score: Angels 1 White Sox 0
It wasn’t a run-fest like the previous game, but an outstanding performance by Shoemaker was enough to get the job done and get the win.
Game 3: Jared Weaver (8-7) vs. Jacob Turner (0-1)
The trend of great pitching continued for the Angels as Jared Weaver went 7.0 innings allowing just one earned run on six hits. Deolis Guerra came in to set up in the 8th, pitching a perfect inning and Joe Smith came in to pitch the 9th again for the sake of getting some work in. Weaver holding the Sox to just one run was more than enough to preserve the win for himself as the Halos’ offense scored 8 runs for him.
The bats came out right away as Los Angeles scored two runs in the home half of the first inning. A leadoff walk by Yunel Escobar set up for a two run blast by Albert Pujols three batters later. A double to leadoff the 4th by Mike Trout put the Angels in position to score again, and it didn’t take long as Albert Pujols came up and blasted his second two-run home run in as many at bats to start the day. Ji-Man Choi then followed up with a single and stole second base to keep the scoring opportunities alive with nobody out. With two outs and Choi still at second, Jett Bandy doubled to center to score Choi, which was followed up by another double by Gregorio Petit to bring the tally to four runs in the inning. The Halos tacked on two more for good measure in the fifth, Choi scored Kole Calhoun on a sacrifice fly and Todd Cunningham doubled to score Mike Trout.
Final Score: Angels 8 White Sox 1
The pitching staff as a whole allowed only one run the entire series and the offense powered in 16, which is always a recipe for success. The break seems to have done some magic for the pitching staff and the offense is benefiting as well. It helps the offense to not always be playing catch up and the pitching staff to not always have to pitch perfectly in order to win, which were trends in the first half. Of course this is only the first series of the second half but if this trend continues even in part, things are looking up for the boys in red in Los Angeles.
The Angels will take on the Rangers in a three game series in Los Angeles starting July 18 before heading on a six game road trip. Nick Tropeano will take the hill for the Halos to start their series against Texas as they look to gain some ground in the AL West.
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