By Pete Zarustica
Kole Calhoun may not be the best hitter in the lineup of the Los Angeles Angels, but from time to time he delivers the key hit in the Halos’ pursuit of a spot in post-season play. That was the case on Wednesday, when Calhoun – currently batting .241 – smacked a two-run home run which was the difference in a 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals.
Calhoun’s homer in the sixth was enough to give the Angels their seventh win in eight games and improve their record to 62-59. That puts them in the second American League wild card spot and helps keep them in second place in the AL West.
“Every game you can put as much importance on it as you want,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We need to win. We need to play our game every night. That’s what we’re going to focus on, the things we need to do in a ballgame to get the game on our terms and hopefully hold leads. That’s the best recipe we know to reach our goals.”
The Angels also got a strong performance from starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who worked 5.2 innings before leaving with leg cramps. He gave up five hits and two runs – one a home run by Ryan Zimmerman in the first inning – while walking three and striking out five.
On the night, the Angels had but four hits, but two were by Luis Valbuena, who had a solo homer and a double.
The Halos will have Thursday off, and then start a three-game series in Baltimore on Friday. They’ll be back in Anaheim on Monday to start a 10-game homestand.