By Pete Zarustica
The red-hot Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim won their sixth straight game Sunday as they swept a four-game series in Seattle and solidified their grip on second place in the American League West and on an AL wild card playoff spot.
But despite their 4-2 win in Safeco Field, the Halos (61-58) will have to stay toasty as they are still being chased by five other teams within 2.5 games. From here on out, each game will represent a step up or a missed opportunity in the team’s efforts to reach post-season play.
“We swung the bats pretty consistently all series and it comes down to holding leads, but there’s not just one thing,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “You have to play good baseball. A couple of these games could have easily swung the other way. Our bullpen did a great job. I think we’re playing with some consistency.”
Pitching with great consistency is rookie standout Parker Bridwell (7-1), who worked six innings, giving up just four hits and one run. He struck out two batters and walked one. In 12 games in which Bridwell was the starter, the team won 11 of those contests.
“I’ve just kind of gotten more in a groove,” Bridwell said. “The way I like to pound the zone, it’s kind of my game every time. If I can do that, execute pitches and just throw strikes, I think my game will come.”
Trailing 1-0 early, the Angels got even in the third thanks to a home run by C.J. Cron. They added three more in the fifth as Mike Trout scored on a sacrifice fly, and Albert Pujols and Jefry Marte scored on a single by Martin Maldonado.
The bullpen got a passing grade, giving up four hits and one run for the remainder of the game. Keynan Middleton picked up his second save of the season.
Next up for the Angels is a trip to the nation’s capital to start a series with the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. Tyler Skaggs (1-2) will start for the Orange County team.