Angels beat Orioles 9-5 to end 4-game skid
BALTIMORE (AP) — One rousing comeback victory won’t completely turn around a frustrating season for the Los Angeles Angels.
Their 9-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday did, however, make the prospect of taking a cross-country trip home a whole lot more palatable.
Erick Aybar hit a bases-loaded triple and Albert Pujols homered during a six-run seventh inning that helped the Angels stop a four-game losing streak.
Hank Conger homered, Pujols had three hits and Howie Kendrick contributed two doubles to help Los Angeles (28-38) avert a three-game sweep and put a positive finish on a 2-4 trip that began in Boston.
“After losing the first two games of the series, we really needed this win,” Conger said. “It’s very uplifting for us to go home with this win.”
Los Angeles trailed 4-2 before getting five hits — three for extra bases — and two walks in the seventh against three pitchers.
“Real good at-bats,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Drew some walks, got into some good hitting counts. It was good to see our offense ... with some clutch hits at the end.”
After an off day, Los Angeles opens a season-high 10-game homestand Friday night against the New York Yankees.
“It’s going to be a big series,” Conger said. “We played two good teams on this road trip, and now we’ve got to keep grinding. That’s all we can do right now.”
Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 21st homer for Baltimore, 0-5 this season when trying to complete a three- or four-game sweep. The Orioles next host the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox in a four-game series beginning Thursday night.
“That was a tough inning for us,” outfielder Nate McLouth said, referring to the Los Angeles seventh. “Won the series though, and got Boston coming in. We’ll worry about them now.”
McLouth had his run of 19 consecutive successful steal attempts snapped in the third inning when he lost his footing and toppled off second base after reaching the bag ahead of the throw. He was tagged out by Aybar, ending the longest active steals streak in the majors and third-best in Orioles history.
Davis gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead in the fourth against Jerome Williams (5-2), ending a 1-for-17 skid with his first home run and RBI since June 2. Adam Jones made it 4-2 in the sixth with his 14th homer, his third in four games.
The lead vanished in the seventh. Alberto Callaspo singled and Brad Hawpe drew a four-pitch walk, prompting the exit of starter Jason Hammel. Pedro Strop came in, and Conger hit a sharp, high grounder that glanced off Strop’s glove for an infield hit.
“It was going to be a double play if I could catch that one — but I couldn’t,” Strop said.
“For us to get a break like that to get something going was huge,” Conger said, “because not too many breaks have been going our way lately.”
That loaded the bases for Aybar, who hit a liner into the gap in right-center. As Aybar slid into third, the relay throw from Ryan Flaherty bounced out of play, allowing Aybar to score for a 6-4 lead.
“In that situation, you’re looking for one pitch, and he threw a fastball in the middle and I (made) good contact,” Aybar said.
A groundout, a walk and Pujols’ 11th homer followed. Strop (0-3) then exited to jeers from the crowd of 25,964.
“Not good. Only thing I can say,” Strop said. “I couldn’t do the job.”
Strop, who starred as Baltimore’s setup man last year, has a 7.58 ERA after yielding nine runs in his last five innings.
The Orioles scored an unearned run in the eighth, and Los Angeles tallied an unearned run in the ninth.
Williams, who has jockeyed from the rotation to the bullpen this season, allowed four runs over six innings in his seventh start of 2013.
Baltimore went up 2-0 in the first when Nick Markakis and Jones delivered run-scoring groundouts.
Conger hit a solo shot in the third, his fourth homer of the year and third in his last five starts. The drive was the 69th in the 22-year history of Camden Yards to land on Eutaw Street, beyond the right-field wall.
Josh Hamilton singled with two outs in the fourth and scored on Kendrick’s double.
NOTES: Scioscia said he will skip Joe Blanton (1-10) against the Yankees and start C.J. Wilson, Tommy Hanson and Jered Weaver. ... Baltimore’s Manny Machado extended his hitting streak to 10 games, one short of his career high. He also ended a season-long run of 11 straight games without getting at least two hits. ... Angels 1B Mark Trumbo did not start, but entered in the seventh as a defensive replacement and has played in all 66 games this year. ... Orioles LHP Wei Yin-Chen (oblique) is scheduled to throw off a half-mound on Thursday in Sarasota, Fla. If all goes well, he will pitch off a full mound Saturday.