Angels hold off Tigers' charge in slugfest
DETROIT -- Albert Pujols homered, Erick Aybar notched three hits and the Angels held on Tuesday night, beating the Tigers at Comerica Park, 8-7, to snap a four-game losing streak.
The Tigers have now dropped five in a row, moving into a tie with Cleveland for fourth in the American League Central. Their starter, Alfredo Simon, put them in a 4-0 hole after the first and finished giving up eight runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings, walking four batters, uncorking three wild pitches and hitting a batter.
Pujols hit a three-run homer in the first -- his 34th on the year and the 554th of his career -- and the Tigers tied the game off Jered Weaver in the third, getting a three-run double by Miguel Cabrera and a two-out RBI single by J.D. Martinez. But the Angels, losers of 21 of their previous 30, scored a couple of runs in the fourth and fifth to retake the lead and barely held it down the stretch.
With two on, two out and the Angels up by just one in the seventh, Pujols dove full extension to his right to take away a potential game-tying hit from James McCann and end the inning. With two on and two outs in the eighth, Huston Street got Victor Martinez to ground out, then recorded his 30th save in the ninth.
"Roles get extended if you want to win, be a championship player," said Street, whose Angels are now five games behind the Astros for first place in the AL West and a half-game back of the Rangers for the second Wild Card spot. "We're trying to fight to get back in this thing."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Tensions mounting: Angels center fielder Mike Trout and right fielder Kole Calhoun miscommunicated on a one-out fly ball by Anthony Gose, letting it fall and putting runners on second and third in the third. Two batters later, Cabrera came through with a three-run double, and after the inning, Weaver lost his cool in the dugout, screaming obscenities at nobody in particular. The following inning, though, Trout laid out to make a catch on McCann's liner and Weaver lifted his glove in appreciation. More >
"It wasn't directed towards the guys in the outfield at all," Weaver said of his tirade. "It was just more of trying to get the guys fired up and trying to get guys motivated. I hadn't really been vocal this year. It's obviously not the way I've wanted my season to go. But we're in the mix of a playoff race, and we have to play good baseball to get to where we want to be."
Wilson goes Trout fishing: Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has picked his spots for Alex Wilson since his shoulder fatigue a couple weeks ago, and he had a big spot for him when Trout came up with two out in the eighth and an insurance run on third. Wilson worked all four corners of the strike zone before getting Trout to swing and miss at a full-count slider, adding another accomplishment for Wilson in a season full of them.
Keeping it rolling: The Angels notched three multi-run innings, the same total they amassed through an entire seven-game homestand last week. On Sunday, they plated five first-inning runs against the Blue Jays and never scored again. On Tuesday, they scored four in the first, watched the Tigers tie it in the third, then picked up a couple of runs in the fourth and fifth. The Angels entered last in the American League in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and runs per game in August, then had the leadoff man on five times.
"Naturally, we needed it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We had a good start to the game. Albert got us off and running, and we did a lot of things -- ran the bases well, got sac bunts down, hit with runners in scoring position, moved runners well."
Cabrera gets cooking: Cabrera couldn't plate Gose from second base in the opening inning, but he had a much better second chance with the bases loaded in the third. His bases-clearing double wasn't his usual power shot, but it was well-placed down the left-field line. Cabrera also singled in the seventh and the eighth for his seventh straight multi-hit game, tying his career high set Aug. 6-13, 2006, with the Marlins. More >
"I feel like I can push a little more hard right now," Cabrera said, "because I lost one-and-a-half months [on the disabled list]. I'm rested. I can go out there and put a little more effort and do everything to win."
"I think that type of energy is good. You have to push each other, and you have to hold each other accountable, and that, to me, is where the line is drawn. There's a difference between calling someone out and accusing someone of something, and holding people accountable." -- Street, on Weaver's tirade, which came three days after Street himself was yelling in the dugout
"I feel good. I think everyone feels good, but we don't have results. We don't play together. That's the point." -- Cabrera, when asked about his health
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Simon is the third Major League pitcher since 1974 to throw three run-scoring wild pitches in the same game, according to research from STATS. Former Texas Ranger Rob Bell did it on Aug. 18, 2001, against Toronto, and Sergio Santos did it in a relief appearance for Toronto against Minnesota on April 17, 2014.The last team to throw three wild pitches against the Angels was the Dodgers on June 14, 2002. More >
Second baseman Grant Green exited the game after three innings with discomfort in his right knee, an injury he sustained while fielding a grounder in the second inning. Prior to the game, the Angels placed their everyday second baseman, Johnny Giavotella, on the disabled list with an undisclosed illness. More >
Angels: Hector Santiago takes the ball for the second of a three-game series from Comerica Park on Wednesday, with first pitch slated for 4:08 p.m. PT. The 27-year-old left-hander is coming off his shortest start of the year, giving up four runs (two earned) on four walks and three hits in 3 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays on Friday.
Tigers: Justin Verlander, 1-3 over his last six starts despite a 1.67 ERA and better than seven innings per outing, gets another shot at better fortune in the middle game of the series at 7:08 p.n. ET. Verlander hasn't beaten the Angels since his memorable matchup with Weaver on July 31, 2011, at Comerica Park.
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