ANAHEIM – Tuesday saw a change of scenery in the Los Angeles Angels lineup, with two players moving one spot deeper into the batting order. It held it’s impact on the game, as the Angels defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks by a final score of 4-1.
Angels manager, Mike Scioscia, made the decision to move Mike Trout and Albert Pujols one notch back from their order in the lineup for the past two years, Trout batting third and Pujols batting cleanup. For Pujols, it was his first time batting cleanup since May 21, 2010.
“I don’t think the new lineup was here nor there tonight,” said Scioscia. “I don’t think it had any effect on tonight. You had some clutch hits from some guys that are important to us.”
Both the clutch hits mentioned by Scioscia came in the form of two-run home runs, one from Pujols and one from David Freese.
Pujols began the Angels scoring after taking two fastballs, and swung on the third with a 2-1 count, sending it to the rocks beyond the center field fences. For Pujols, it was his 11th home run in his last 18 games, and his 19th of the season, the most in the American League thus far this season.
“He’s a guy that probably has one of the best changeups in the game and he knows how to pitch,” said Pujols of Arizona starter, Jeremy Hellickson. “He just made one mistake and we took advantage.”
The Angels picked up some insurance in the eighth inning took a 2-2 slider to the opposite field for his 10th home run of the season. Freese hit a total of 10 home runs all of last season, and now has 10 prior to the All-Star Game. Freese became the seventh Angels third baseman to collect 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 30 RBI before the All-Star break.
“It’s nice to get a little cushion,” said Freese. “Whoever helps in that situation, it’s good. I’m sure Huston Street appreciates it. I feel good. It’s as simple as that. I’m confident and the legs feel good and I’m having fun out there.”
Los Angeles’ starting pitcher, Garrett Richards, kept the Angels within striking distance throughout the game, despite some tough situations and shaky start.
“It was a battle night,” said Richards. “Trying to give us a chance to win. That’s my number one job as a starting pitcher. Give us a chance to win and go as deep as you can into a game.”
Richards finished the night going seven innings, allowing one run on four hits and three walks, while striking out four. The lone run Richards allowed was unearned due to two passed balls from his catcher, Carlos Perez. Richards took credit on a miscommunication between himself and Perez.
“I made a mental mistake in the second and unfortunately gave them a run. Once the inning is over all I can concentrate on is putting up a zero the next inning so that was my mindset going into it.”
Huston Street came in for the ninth inning, and put together a 1-2-3 inning, collecting his 295th career save. Street is now five saves away from becoming the 27th pitcher to have 300 career saves.
Final from Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California:
Diamondbacks, 1 (31-33); Angels, 4 (33-32)
W – Garrett Richards (7-4, 3.59)
L – Jeremy Hellickson (4-4, 5.10)
S – Huston Street (20, 2.33)