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Monday, April 26, 2010

Angels Jump Out Early: Indians 2, Angels 5

Top 2nd: The Angels hammered David Huff for three runs in the first; surprisingly, Kendry Morales had nothing to do with it, but the leadoff homer by Erick Aybar was the keynote that got things started.

Weaver gave up a double and an RBI single to Jhonny Peralta, but that was it. 3-1 Angels.

Bottom 3rd: After Huff's rough first inning, he settled in and started making consistent outs. This time he only surrendered a two-out double to Juan Rivera, but Howie Kendrick's hard smash ended up in Russell Branyan's glove to end the inning on an unassisted 3 groundout. Still 3-1 Angels.

Bottom 4th: Bobby Abreu gets rung up on a called strike three that the pitch tracker on screen shows as off the plate. Abreu shakes his head as he heads back to the dugout, and home plate umpire Paul Schreiber jaws at him some on the way back, but no ejection. It didn't matter, as the men on first and second didn't go anywhere thanks to Torii Hunter grounding out into a 6-4 fielder's choice to end the frame. K-Mo walked, bringing Juan Rivera to the dish.

Top 5th: Jered Weaver allowed a two-out single to Shin-Soo Choo, right over the head of Howie Kendrick, but he got Pronk to fly out to center on a pretty close play that had Torii galloping in from mid-center to take over for the infielders, with some wide eyes on Kendrick providing a underscore to the end of the inning.

Bottom 5th: Matsui knocked one down the right field line for his 1,000th major league hit, with 2,390 professional hits between the North American majors and the Japanese leagues. It comes to nothing, but yay, Gojira!

Bottom 6th: Brandon Wood worked something of a miracle: his second hit in the game, a leadoff single.

And then Abreu went yard on an elevated pitch high over the plate to make it 5-1 Angels, yanking it deep into the right field bleachers.

Torii Hunter nailed one off reliever Rafael Perez down the left field line. Hunter skidded into second; Austin Kerns throw actually beat Torii to the bag by about a week, but second baseman Luis Valbuena dropped the ball. He recovered and tagged Hunter, but second base umpire Joe West wasn't in a forgiving mood and declared Hunter safe despite the facts. That put a man on second with only one out; Matsui flied out to right, pushing Hunter to third, but now with two down and Morales at the plate. Morales walked to the crowd's delight, but Juan Rivera whiffed to end the thread.

Top 7th: Weaver's out of it, and Jason Bulger's in. He started badly, throwing four straight out of the zone to walk catcher Mike Redmond, and every Angels fan got a queasy feeling in their stomach. Bulger went 3-1 on Asdrubal Cabrera, and that got Butcher on the horn to the bullpen — and then Bulger walked Cabrera to load the bases.

That was it; hullo, Kevin Jepsen. Jepsen's first pitch to Pronk was a strike practically at his eyes, and Schreiber calls it as Pronk snarls contempt; the third pitch, a tight slider, blows past him for the swinging strikeout. Russell Branyan, now back in a Tribe uniform, gets to a 1-1 count on a breaking pitch in the dirt he spat on as it bounced to Mike Napoli. He tapped out to Erick Aybar on the first base side of second to end the frame, and it's still 5-1 Angels.

Bottom 7th: Brandon Wood shocked all of us by whacking one up the left side for his third hit of the game, putting men on first and second with one out. That's a knockout blow for Rafael Perez, and the Tribe calls in Tony Sipp — who promptly got Aybar to bounce into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Top 8th: Brian Stokes came in and promptly surrendered a leadoff homer to Austin Kerns, Kerns' first of the year, making it 5-2 Angels. Bobby Abreu made a beautiful running catch to nail down the final out of the inning with two men on, giving everyone — including reliever Fernando Rodney — a big sigh of relief.

Top 9th: Fuentes survives a shaky 9th (B. Wood throwing error and a walkd) by punching out punching out Peralta to finish things with a 5-2 win. Woo!

ESPN BoxAngels recap

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In the 6th inning when Torii Hunter was safe at second despite Luis Valbuena waiting for him with the ball it appeared that Valbuena put the gloved ball on the base rather than in front (the first base side) of the base on the dirt. Hunter slid in and touched the front (first base side) part of second base just short of Valbuena's glove. I was sitting in section 128 and had a good view of the play. I have not seen a replay of that failed tag play. I did not see Valbuena drop the ball. I thought it was bad execution of a tag play. As always, I reserve the right to be wrong.

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