By Chris Abdelmalek
It was an historic night for the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday as “The Machine” Albert Pujols passed former Angel Rod Carew for 25th all-time hits list and he tied Seattle Mariners great Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth all-time on the home-run list belting two dingers in an 11-2 victory for the Halos over the Seattle Mariners. Albert finished the game 3-for-4 with three runs batted in and two runs scored to go along with a walk.
The win was the Angels fourth in six games; they are now 48-46.
The Angels starter Tyler Skaggs proved once again why he should now be considered the ace of the staff throwing a stellar six innings tonight with five strikeouts and only allowing one run in the game. He has been lights out this year leading the team in every statistical category as far as pitching is concerned.
As the pattern of Angels’ pitching continues, one bad inning was all they allowed. Skaggs had some trouble early on in the first inning, Mariners infielder Dee Gordon reached base on a comebacker to the mound that Skaggs mishandled and threw away allowing Gordon to get to second to lead the game off. A few batters later Kyle Seager, older brother to Cory Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, singled home Gordon to give the visiting team the lead 1-0.
The Angels would have Skaggs back right away in the bottom of the first as Angels infielder David Fletcher would hit his first ever career homerun off Seattle’s starter John Paxton. The halos would not stop there as Pujols would hit his 629rd-career home run for a two-run bomb scoring Mike Trout giving the Halos a 3-1 lead.
The offense woke up in this game today with all but one starter (Jeffery Marte) recorded a hit finishing the game with 15 overall. Paxton was lifted early on in the first after giving up the two home runs and the bullpen for the Mariners didn’t fare well against the halos bats as the home team scored in five different innings tonight.
When asked about his great start to the season Skaggs said “Confidence, I came in to spring training knowing I had a job.” Skaggs also commented on his ability to stay healthy this season, “Its huge with all these injuries…I’ve never seen so many injuries to one team.” Trout was asked about Skaggs performance throughout the season as well, “[He] gives us a chance every night and I’m happy for him.”
Fletcher commented after the game on his first career home run. “It was a great moment, glad we can get off to the right track.” Fletcher has been a spark plug for the team this season with his hustle and attitude on the field. And he has caught the eyes of the veterans on the team including Trout, who said “It’s great, he [Fletcher] is getting the opportunities and taking full advantage of it.”
Trout also talked about the historic night for Pujols, “It seems like every homer he hits he is passing an all-time great.” Fletcher also spoke about “The Machine.”
“Watching him every day, the way he works … his routine … it’s special”
Manager Mike Scioscia after the game talked about the team victory. “Great job in the batter’s box and Tyler Skaggs on the mound set the tone.” Skaggs (7-5) got the victory while Paxton took the loss (8-4).
The Angels now head up north to the city of Angels to face off against the Dodgers Friday night. The Halos will have Felix Pena (1-0) on the mound to face off against Dodgers rookie sensation Walker Buehler (4-2). This series will be the final three games before the all-star break and the Angels will look to finish off the first half strong.