By Pete Zarustica
A sweep of the three-game series with the Detroit Tigers has lifted the Los Angeles Angels back to .500 and buoyed hopes for a better second half of the season.
Home runs by Kole Calhoun, Justin Upton and Albert Pujols helped power the 6-0 win in Anaheim, putting the team record at a break-even 58-58. Jaime Barria (7-7) pitched 5.2 shutout innings, yielding five hits, striking out five batters and walking just one.
“I think he used his fastball well,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think he had his fastball in good zones. When Jaime is able to find that command and bring the blend of the secondary pitches in, he’s very effective. It was hot out there today and he almost finished six innings.”
Despite playing without superstar Mike Trout, the Halos collected 10 hits and were 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position. Three batters – Calhoun, Pujols and Andrelton Simmons – had two hits on the afternoon.
The Angels scored two in the first – led by Calhoun’s leadoff home run – and then added three in the fifth and one in the sixth. The Angel bullpen did its part, smothering the Tigers with no hits and no walks for the final 3.1 innings.
Thursday will be an day off for the Halos. A three-game series hosting the Oakland A’s will start on Friday with Felix Pena (1-3) starting for the home team and Brett Anderson (2-3) for the northerners.