The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Angels' 4-2 loss to Orioles ends streak of 10 straight winning series at home
ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Los Angeles Angels' streak of winning 10 consecutive home series was snapped by the Baltimore Orioles — and by two starting pitchers who spent the All-Star break in the minor leagues so that they wouldn't get rusty.
Miguel Gonzalez beat the Angels 4-2 on Tuesday night, holding them to two singles by Efren Navarro through seven innings before giving up a two-run homer to All-Star MVP Mike Trout in the eighth.
Angels left-hander Hector Santiago matched zeroes with Gonzalez through five innings, allowing just two hits before rookie Mike Morin took over in the sixth.
"Early on I was just trying to battle a little fatigue," Santiago said. "I was kind of under the weather the last couple of days. I definitely felt the fatigue kind of like building up right there in that first two innings. Then I just had a high pitch count, so I had to maintain myself and control it."
Morin (2-3) threw his second pitch into the dirt and to the backstop as his left knee appeared to buckle. Manager Mike Sciocsia went out with a trainer to check on him, and Morin made three warmup tosses before striking out Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz.
But Chris Davis reached on an infield hit and came all the way around on the first of J.J. Hardy's two RBI doubles. Jonathan Schoop homered to left-centre two pitches later for his eighth homer — all on the road.
"Mike did a great job of pitching to get the strikeouts against Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz. Then a 1-2 count to Davis, and he just cues it for an infield hit," Scioscia said. "He just got a fastball to the heart of the plate against Hardy and he lined it right-centre. Then the pitch on the home run was a little bit up. But Mike's been really pitching well for us and he'll bounce back."
Schoop was originally in the No. 9 spot in manager Buck Showalter's lineup, but got bumped up to seventh after third baseman Manny Machado was scratched just before game time because of tightness in his lower back.
"I've never had something like this before. It just spazzed up on me," Machado said. "The trainers worked on it a little bit and I went back out there before the game, but it kept locking up on me. So I thought it was just better to sit it out and let someone else take my place and help the team win. It's still a little tight, but I got a shot and we'll see where we are tomorrow."
Gonzalez (5-5) was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk, where he was optioned on July 11 so that he wouldn't get stale after consecutive eight-inning no-decisions. Bud Norris, who was optioned to Double-A Bowie on July 10, beat the Angels 4-2 Monday night in his return to the rotation.
"They've both pitched well against us, but we've faced tough pitchers during this run and we've done better," Scioscia said. "Not to take anything away from the two ballgames that were pitched, but we're not quite in sync on offence. You're not going to square it up every night, and you're not going to find a hole every night. We certainly haven't the last couple of nights."
Tommy Hunter, making his 200th career appearance, retired Albert Pujols on a grounder for the final out of the eighth and Zach Britton pitched a perfect ninth for his 18th save in 21 chances.
Hardy drove in Baltimore's final run in the eighth against Fernando Salas.
NOTES: The Angels hadn't lost a series at the "Big A" since May 5-7, when the Yankees took two of three. ... Orioles RHP Chris Tillman puts his 6-0 road record on the line against Jered Weaver in Wednesday night's series finale. ... Josh Hamilton hasn't homered in his last 16 games and 64 at-bats since July 2 at Chicago. His last one at the "Big A" was on Aug. 18, 2013 — a drought of 41 games and 160 at-bats. ... Santiago remained 1-7 with a 4.36 ERA in 13 starts with the Angels, who have used him four times in relief. ... The Orioles cleared a spot for Gonzalez on the 25-man roster by optioning RHP Preston Guilmet to Triple-A.
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