By Pete Zarustica
Potential is what you have when you don’t succeed … yet. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Wednesday night showcased the kind of team they could have been in 2016 if things had come together as hoped.
Against the Toronto Blue Jays – tied for first in the American League East –the Halos got outstanding pitching and good hitting to beat the home team 8-2 at Rodgers Center. Matt Shoemaker pitched six shutout innings and Mike Trout and Albert Pujols led a 17-hit attack.
“Anytime you play well, you hope your team starts gathering confidence and gaining confidence,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. “That’s a good club we played and we did a good job on the offensive end.”
Indeed they did. Trout and Pujols homered. In the latter case, the four-bagger was Pujols’ 584 the career homer, leaving him in sole possession of 10th place on the all-time list. He was 4-for-4 with three RBIs, while Trout for 3-for-5 with one RBI and a walk.
Shoemaker (8-13) gave up just three hits and one walk while striking out three batters. The victory put the Angels at 53-73, and broke an 11-game road winless streak that dated all the way back to late July.
The Angels broke out of the gate with a 5-0 lead after two innings. “It’s always good to have a lead,” Shoemaker said. “It’s always nice knowing, that’s in the back of your mind, ‘Hey we’ve got a two-run lead’ or whatever it is. The game plan is to attack the hitters, but then when you have the lead, same thing, attack the hitters, stay aggressive.”
The Angels added single runs in the seventh and eighth innings – including a home run by Jeff Bandy – while the Jays scored once each in the eighth and ninth.
The series continues in Toronto Thursday with Jered Weaver (8-11) taking the mound for the Halos.