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Trio of timely HRs helps Angels cruise to sweep

Calhoun hits leadoff shot; Upton, Pujols go back-to-back
MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- Behind a trio of home runs and a strong start from rookie Jaime Barria, the Angels polished off a three-game sweep of the Tigers with a 6-0 win in Wednesday afternoon's series finale at Angel Stadium.

Kole Calhoun led off the game with a solo home run, and Justin Upton and Albert Pujols added back-to-back shots in the fifth inning to pull the Angels (58-58) back to .500 and saddle the rebuilding Tigers with their sixth consecutive loss.

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ANAHEIM -- Behind a trio of home runs and a strong start from rookie Jaime Barria, the Angels polished off a three-game sweep of the Tigers with a 6-0 win in Wednesday afternoon's series finale at Angel Stadium.

Kole Calhoun led off the game with a solo home run, and Justin Upton and Albert Pujols added back-to-back shots in the fifth inning to pull the Angels (58-58) back to .500 and saddle the rebuilding Tigers with their sixth consecutive loss.

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Video: DET@LAA: Calhoun homers to lead off bottom of the 1st

Barria picked up his seventh win of the season after scattering five hits over 5 2/3 scoreless innings for the Angels. The 22-year-old right-hander walked one and struck out five in the 92-pitch effort.

Video: DET@LAA: Barria K's 5 over 5 2/3 scoreless innings

"I think he used his fastball well," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think he had his fastball in good zones. When Jaime is able to find that command and bring the blend of the secondary pitches in, he's very effective. It was hot out there today and he almost finished six innings."

Taylor Cole, Hansel Robles and Noe Ramirez combined to pitch 3 1/3 perfect innings to complete the shutout.

Despite being without Mike Trout, who hasn't played since last Wednesday due to a right wrist contusion, the Angels outscored the Tigers, 23-7, during the series to secure their first sweep since June 4-6 against the Royals.

"Obviously, you never want to play too many games without a guy like Mike in your lineup, but we've been forced to, and I think we've been holding our own," Scioscia said. "In this series, we definitely looked good in the batter's box."

The Angels entered Wednesday just 11-21 against left-handed starters this season, but they didn't have much trouble solving Detroit's Blaine Hardy. The left-handed-hitting Calhoun blasted Hardy's second pitch of the game out to center field for his 15th home run of the season, putting the Angels on the board in the first inning. Calhoun now has 14 home runs since June 18, the most in the American League.

The Angels tacked on another run on Jefry Marte's RBI single to left field, extending their lead to 2-0.

Video: DET@LAA: Marte loses control of bat, later singles

In the fifth, Hardy yielded a leadoff single to Eric Young Jr., followed by a two-run shot to Upton. Upton ended a nine-pitch at-bat by launching a 3-2 changeup from Hardy, his former Tigers teammate, to left-center field for his 23rd home run of the season.

"I grinded at-bats, saw some pitches," Upton said. "After seeing that many pitches, you kind of get a little more comfortable."

Pujols subsequently drove an 0-1 curveball from Hardy over the left-center-field wall for his 18th home run of the year, making it 5-0. It was the third time the Angels have hit back-to-back homers this season. The blast was also Pujols' 999th hit since joining the Halos, leaving him one shy of becoming the ninth player to collect 1,000 hits in each league. The first 2,073 hits of Pujols' career came in the National League with the Cardinals.

Video: DET@LAA: Pujols goes back-to-back, gives away gloves

The Tigers didn't put a runner in scoring position against Barria until the fourth, when Jeimer Candelario led off the inning by doubling into the gap in left-center field. Still, Barria coaxed a pop out from Victor Martinez and a pair of flyouts from Niko Goodrum and Jim Adduci to leave Candelario stranded at second.

Detroit generated its best scoring opportunity in the sixth after Barria surrendered a pair of singles to Jose Iglesias and Martinez to put runners on the corners with two outs. Scioscia opted to bring in Cole to face Goodrum, who struck out swinging on three straight changeups to end the inning. Cole struck out three over 1 1/3 scoreless frames, lowering his ERA to 1.59 in eight appearances for the Angels.

Video: DET@LAA: Cole strikes out Goodrum to strand a pair

"Taylor, he's really an interesting guy," Scioscia said. "He's really multidimensional. He can give you multiple innings in the 'pen. He's got a power changeup and slider to go with a really good fastball. He's got some plus out pitches and plus fastball, and he looked good going in there this afternoon."

The Angels added an insurance run in the sixth after Marte doubled and scored on Jose Briceno's RBI single.

Video: DET@LAA: Briceno plates Marte with an RBI single

UP NEXT
The Angels will enjoy an off-day on Thursday before beginning a three-game series against the A's on Friday at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Right-hander Felix Pena (1-3, 4.97 ERA) will battle left-hander Brett Anderson (2-3, 4.64 ERA) in the series opener. Pena made his only career appearance against the A's as a reliever on April 8, giving up one run over one inning of work. Prior to the game, the Angels will honor recently inducted Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero during an on-field ceremony.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Albert Pujols, Justin Upton