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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Laurel For Garland: Angels 7, Blue Jays 1

Jon Garland had remarkably little trouble with Toronto today and bagged his 100th career victory with a flourish, using a little ninth-inning luck to collect his first complete game in an Angels uniform, and the ninth of his career. The Angels fairly battered opponent Jesse Litsch, whom they last saw August 23, 2007 when he got the win in regulation against Ervin Santana, then one game off a return from his stint in the minors after stinking the joint up most of the season.

But that Litsch was a relative unknown to the Angels at the time, and this time they were ready for him; it helped that his command wasn't quite where it needed to be, plunking Casey Kotchman in the first, and later walking Garret Anderson in the third; Kotchman went on to score on Anderson's two-out, two-run double, setting up a lead the Angels never surrendered.

Juan Rivera, playing in the series for the first time despite hitting a crucial home run against Oakland on July 2, got another big fly in the second to lead off the frame. The offense made Litsch work pretty consistently throughout the game, only giving up one 1-2-3 frame, that in the fifth. Then in the sixth, they nearly batted around, chasing the Jays' starter after a surprising Jeff Mathis RBI single that drove in a pair. The Angels' starting catcher knocked in three in all, tying a career mark.

Meantime, Garland was at his best, getting early-count outs in the main, and if he didn't retire the side in order much (only twice, in the first and eighth), his mistakes didn't cost him. He was helped out by some sharp defense, including a nice play by Casey Kotchman to end the second with a man on third to retire Greg Zaun, and a spiffy 9-4-2 flyball out on Lyle Overbay's fourth-inning single that nailed Vernon Wells at the plate. Garland also benefited from a great piece of fielding in the ninth when Garret Anderson caught Vernon Wells' liner in the gap, turning around and firing a bullet to second to double up Alex Rios at second; the entirety of the first two outs of the inning cost Garland five pitches, and just two pitches later, he got Overbay to pop out to left, and that was that.

It wasn't all stellar glovework, though: Erick Aybar missed a fairly routine line drive to short in the fourth that allowed Overbay to reach, but luck was in his sails with the subsequent play at the plate.

With that, the Angels are now gone from their home field until July 25 18, headed now to Texas.

Yahoo boxMLB.com recap

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This comment has been removed by the author.
The Angels are home on July 18th for a series with Boston and another with Cleveland.
Fooey. Corrected.

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