ANAHEIM -- With an extra three days off in between starts to iron out a mechanical issue, Angels right-hander Ricky Nolasco delivered arguably his best outing of the season on Thursday night, leading the Halos to a 2-1 victory to finish off a sweep of the A's at Angel Stadium.Nolasco
ANAHEIM -- With an extra three days off in between starts to iron out a mechanical issue, Angels right-hander Ricky Nolasco delivered arguably his best outing of the season on Thursday night, leading the Halos to a 2-1 victory to finish off a sweep of the A's at Angel Stadium.
Nolasco held the A's to one run on three hits while walking two and striking out four over 5 2/3 innings.
The 34-year-old veteran had been scheduled to start Monday against the Blue Jays, but the Angels decided to push him back to give him time to work on his mechanics. Nolasco threw two "much-needed" bullpen sessions during his extended layoff and said he focused on "cleaning up some things" with his front leg in his most recent one Monday.
"It's just a key for me in not opening up too soon and just staying closed and staying through the ball," Nolasco said. "It worked out."
Added manager Mike Scioscia: "I think the work he did in between showed up. He battled and had a good game plan and made his pitches. Some counts got away from him, some guys got back into counts, but he got some big outs."
Nolasco cruised through the first three innings before surrendering an RBI single to Yonder Alonso that cut the Angels' lead to 2-1 in the fourth. Nolasco fell into more trouble in the sixth, issuing back-to-back walks to Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis with two outs. The A's then loaded the bases after Alonso reached on Cliff Pennington's fielding error.
With Nolasco's pitch count at 98, Scioscia summoned right-hander Richard Parker to face Ryon Healy, who struck out on three pitches to defuse the threat.
"I think the highlight of this team right now is the bullpen," Nolasco said. "They did a great job. They've been doing a huge job picking up a lot of innings."
Nolasco has been a part of a larger turnaround for the entire Angels' rotation. After a rough first week of the season, the Halos' starters have not yielded more than two earned runs in 12 of their last 13 games, pitching to a 2.10 ERA over that span.
"We're very confident in what that group of guys can do," Scioscia said. "We started the season, and those guys were stubbing their toe a little bit getting out of the gate. We had a couple rough starts for the first 10 games. For most of our guys, they've settled in and given us a chance to win on a nightly basis, so that's been key."
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.