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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Angels End A Skid Against An Old Foe: Angels 9, Braves 0

I have been watching the Angels between my outstretched fingers of late. Losing five straight games seems indicative of the sort of team I thought (but weren't entirely sure) they might be before the season started, so when Torii Hunter lost the game-winning ball in the sun yesterday, I just cringed and turned the page.

I'm glad I did, because it picked up the narrative from April, it seemed like, all in one game. Now, granted, I think a bunch of this was because Braves starter (and former Oakland ace) Tim Hudson got hit hard from the very first batter. In fact, this was something of a historic slaughter for Hudson, because it represented only the fifth time he's given up eight or more runs in a game, the most recent being July 29, 2006 against the Mets. I think we all assumed he was going to be a multiple Cy Young winner, when what he became was merely a very good but flawed pitcher. Hudson's 2010 was very like what I assumed he would be, 17-9 with a 2.83 ERA, but the ERA and wins were both high-water marks in his time in Atlanta.

The Angels pretty much had their way with Hudson after the second inning, and you could tell it was coming, too. The outs were all but consistently hard-hit: Maicer Izturis, a screaming liner to right, Erick Aybar, a scorching grounder to first, and so on. They broke through in the third by pushing six across in a punishing display of offensive fireworks that came about despite lacking Howie Kendrick in the lineup due to a hamstring pull in Thursday's game. Three of those were due to a homer from Mark Trumbo, a no-doubter in that eventful third that put an exclamation point on the Angels' W.

The rest of it was largely denouement for Ervin Santana's complete game shutout, the sixth of his career, and something of a surprise to me; but Ervin has always been full of surprises, good and bad, the whole time he's been an Angel. More of this sort, please.

ESPN BoxAngels recap

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