Aybar sparks Halos' breakout with 5 hits
ARLINGTON -- Angels shortstop Erick Aybar did something he had never done before in the Angels' 8-2 win against the Rangers on Friday night.
For the first time in 1,141 career games, Aybar went 5-for-5. He had a double, four singles and two RBIs -- and it helped shape a good night for more than just him.
"He waited for some good pitches to hit," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Got into some good counts and just had a terrific offensive night. It was good to see Erick contribute."
The Angels' eight runs were the most they had scored since June 19. This came after Scioscia made a clear message before the game, saying the simplest key to staying in the American League West race as the All-Star break nears begins with taking a simpler approach to generating runs.
"It's not going to start with five guys hitting three home runs in a game," Scioscia said. "It starts with, 'Let's get some guys on base early in an inning.'"
In the second frame against Rangers rookie Chi Chi Gonzalez, the Angels seemed to take that message to heart. Aybar and David Freese opened the inning with singles. Matt Joyce drew a walk and C.J. Cron nailed an RBI single.
Before the inning was over, the Angels had six runs -- this after entering play having stranded 88 runners in the past nine games. The Halos went 6-for-16 with runners in scoring position as Kole Calhoun led the charge with two doubles and four RBIs.
"We did a great job early on in not only getting guys on," Scioscia said. "We took our walks and got great situational hitting. Big hits from Kole and Erick with two outs to put the six-spot up in the second. Just a good offensive day."
Freese also broke out of a slump with three hits, and the Angels tied a season high with 15 collective hits. They even did it without major contributions from Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, who each went 1-for-4 with an RBI.
The outburst powered the Angels to their fifth win in six games, and it served as a needed sign of life that bodes well for the remaining eight games of a nine-game road trip.
"Without what our pitchers are doing and our defense, there's no way we're even four games over .500," Scioscia said. "It's a good sign if we can start swinging our bats like we did tonight."