By Pete Zarustica
Everyone tells you to eat a balanced diet. Every baseball team needs a balanced lineup. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim had one Saturday in Anaheim and scarfed up a 5-2 win over the Boston Red Sox.
They had just enough offense, led by Albert Pujols’ 20th home run of the season. Just enough of a pitching by start by Hector Santiago and just enough of a key eighth inning shutdown from Joe Smith.
“We had a rough first half, all of us together as a group,” Smith said. “But we’ve been playing really good baseball since the All-Star break. It’s really fun around here, and we’re just trying to keep doing it.”
The Bosox roughed up Santiago a bit in the first, scoring on a Mookie Betts home run and an RBI single Hanley Ramirez. But the Angels got one back in the bottom of the evening when Jefry Marte’s ground out scored Mike Trout from third. Then, in the bottom of the third inning, Pujols’ long blast to center brought in Yunel Escobar and himself for what ended up being the turning point of the game.
The Angels added to their lead with an RBI single by Johnny Giavotella in the fourth and a double by Jeff Bandy in the sixth.
Santiago struggled a bit, throwing 119 pitches in five innings. He gave up just four hits, but walked six batters, while striking six out. Still, it was enough to improve his record to 10-4.
“We’re fortunate tonight,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “You can’t give that club as many baserunners as we did.”
Smith retired four batters to pitch the Angels out of an eighth inning jam, and Huston Street slammed the door in the ninth.
The win moved the Angels (47-57) into a tie with the Oakland A’s for fourth place in the American League West, The Red Sox went to 56-46, putting them in third in the AL East, two game back of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Tyler Skaggs will make the start for the Angels Sunday.
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