BALTIMORE -- Michael Trout and Luis Valbuena each homered twice as the Angels continued their recent power surge to blow past the Orioles with Saturday's 5-1 win to even the series.
The victory, which came on the night the Orioles celebrated the 25th anniversary of the inaugural season of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, puts the Halos back in a tie with the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot. It also came on the heels of a tough loss on Friday night that saw the Orioles walk off on a Manny Machado grand slam.
Trout and Valbuena swapped homers over the first four innings off Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, who gave up five runs on six hits and four walks over four-plus innings.
"He just made some mistakes. I know he was trying to go in off the plate to Trout, but the first [homer was] center-cut," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Gausman. "We had trouble keeping it in the park. He was trying to go down and away off the plate and hung a breaking ball. And those balls end up where they ended up, especially when you compound the quality of hitter that you're facing."
"I really had to grind to find command for my fastball," Gausman said. "Right out of the gate, I was having a tough time, kind of battling against myself the whole night. That was the biggest difference between my starts lately and tonight."
The Angels have scored all 16 of their runs in the last four games on homers, and they've hit nine dingers in the first two games of this series, with Trout providing three in Baltimore.
"This park's a little smaller than ours, so the ball carries a little bit better," Trout said. "We're barrelling up baseballs, and they're going over the fence."
Baltimore is now three games behind the Angels and Twins after going 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Timothy Beckham doubled in the first inning and scored the O's only run on a wild pitch.
Angels starter JC Ramirez went 5 2/3 innings and held Baltimore to one run before exiting early due to right forearm irritation. Rarmirez will have an MRI on Monday.
"Looks like there is some irritation," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It was a little tight. We wanted to exercise some precaution and get him out of there. We'll do some tests."
• Ramirez optimistic following forearm injury
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Power means runs: The Angels don't usually rely on their power, but after hitting five home runs in the first five innings on Friday, they added four more in the game's first four frames on Saturday. Trout homered in the first and third innings, while Valbuena delivered dingers in the second and fourth. Trout's first-inning shot gave him 25 on the season, making him the third player in history -- joining Hall of Famers Frank Robinson and Eddie Mathews -- to have six 25-plus-homer seasons before his age-26 season.
"The whole lineup is [hitting with power]," Trout said. "It's fun to watch. You keep passing the baton and go from there." More >
O's can't cash in: After letting Ramirez off the hook despite some command problems in the first inning, the O's squandered their biggest chance to produce a big inning in the third. Down 3-1 with two runners in scoring position after a rare error by Andrelton Simmons, Ramirez got Trey Mancini to ground out to end the frame.
"He made the pitch to get the double play [in the first inning], and everybody wants to be the one to drive the runners in, but he made the pitch to get the ground ball and get out of the inning. He's good for a reason," Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop said of Ramirez. "He's got a two-seamer and he got out of the inning."
"We've hit them out. We haven't hit many all year. We've tried to be creative and try to get men on base. We haven't had the slugging percentage to the level we need it. It's good to see it come alive." -- Scioscia, on the Angels' recent stretch of home runs
With Angels catcher Martin Maldonado at the plate in the second inning, a foul tip struck the mask of home-plate umpire Tom Hallion. After he was evaluated by the Orioles' medical staff, he exited the game. Second-base umpire Vic Carapazza took Hallion's place behind the plate, and the three-man crew worked the rest of the game.
In the second inning, the Orioles' Anthony Santander hit a ground ball to third base, where Valbuena made a nice diving stop. His throw to first base was ruled to have pulled C.J. Cron off the base, and Santander was ruled safe. But the Angels challenged, and after a review, the call was overturned and the inning ended.
Angels: The Angels will send former Orioles farmhand Parker Bridwell to the mound in Sunday's 10:35 a.m PT series finale. Bridwell came to the Angels in an early-season deal with the Orioles and threw seven innings of one-run ball against his former team on Aug. 8 in Anaheim.
Orioles: Baltimore will continue its homestand with Sunday's series finale against the Angels with right-hander Chris Tillman making the start, his first since Aug. 3. First baseman Chris Davis, who has been sick the past two games, is expected to return for the 1:35 p.m. ET finale.
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