By Pete Zarustica
The fortunes of the Los Angeles Angels have changed quickly over the last two weeks. On Saturday, with two flicks of the bat by Albert Pujols, the Halos leaped from fourth to second place in the American League West as they defeated the Baltimore Orioles 7-2.
Pujols’ blasts came in the first with two out and then a solo shot in the fourth. He was the principal factor in the Angels’ record improving to 19-20. Their winning percentage of .487 puts them a little over a percentage point ahead of the Seattle Mariners.
“I’ve been feeling good all year long. The scoreboard doesn’t look like it because of my batting average, but I’ve been hitting the ball hard,” Pujols said. “Some days they’re gonna fall, some days they don’t. It’ll take a while but the thing with me is I’ve been here before. I know I’m a banger and I’m going to continue to try to get better and continue to try and put good swings on it.”
Leading 3-2, the Angels put the game away with three runs in the sixth and another in the ninth. Shohei Ohtani went 2-for-5 on the night, scoring one run and driving in another. Kole Calhoun had a double and a single and drove in a run.
Starter Matt Harvey was rocked for two runs in the first, but then steadied down over the next three innings with an overall performance of five hits and two runs yielded in four frames. He struck out six and walked two.
The win went to Luke Bard (1-1) in relief. He only pitched 1.3 innings, giving up three hits, but no runs.
On Sunday, the Angels will send Griffin Canning (1-0) out for his third start against the Orioles’ John Means (4-3).