Andrelton Simmons has always been known for his glove. This year he is again one of the top players for runs saved on the defensive side of the equation. His bat has usually been quiet. This year it has not with a .290 average and 13 homeruns. Against the Orioles he made a couple nice defensive plays to save runs and on offense he smashed a two run homer deep into the left field bleachers to lead the Los Angeles Angels over the Baltimore Orioles 5-4. If the season ended today the Angels would make the playoffs as the second wild card team.
Kole Calhoun got things started for the Angels with a leadoff solo homerun off Chris Tillman in the second inning. They added another run in the third inning after a leadoff walk to Ben Revere. Revere stole second during a swinging strike three by Mike Trout. Albert Pujols lined a single into left field. Trey Mancini threw a rainbow to home that had no chance to get Revere, who scored to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.
Chris Davis made it 2-1, connecting on a pitch and hitting it down the left field line. Revere made the leap but he came up short and Davis had a homerun to pull the Orioles to within one. Ex-O Parker Bridwell shut the O’s down until the sixth inning, when an error by Cliff Pennington allowed two unearned runs to score. The Orioles traded Bridwell to the Angels in April for a player to be named later or cash.
Andrelton Simmons appeared to put the game away in the sixth when he lofted a high fly deep into the left field bleachers off of Chris Tillman. A walk to Luis Valbuena finished the day for Tillman. It has been an awful year for Tillman as he left the mound with a 7.75 ERA. It was his first start since August 3, when he was moved to the bullpen.
The Orioles battled back in the sixth. After a Caleb Joseph lead off single, Cliff Pennington made a poor throw to Simmons at second on a slow grounder by Tim Beckham. His best play was probably at first base. Manny Machado lined a single into right field to load the bases and Jonathan Schoop ended the day for Bridwell with a two run single into right center field. Adam Jones grounded out into a fielder’s choice when Manny Machado was thrown out at home. With two outs Mark Trumbo lined one into the gap for a ground rule double. Adam Jones would have scored easily from first base if the ball had not bounced over the fence. That proved critical when Chris Davis swung and missed on a high 99 mile per hour fastball from Keynan Middleton, leaving Jones stranded at second.
The Angels had runners on first and third with one out with Albert Pujols at the plate. Manny Machado had a grounder sneak underneath his glove for a critical error. With a .230 average Albert is not the hitter he once was. He bailed out Manny by grounding into a double play to end the inning.
Brad Brach pitched a second inning when he started the 8th. He walked two of the three hitters he faced. Mychal Givens came in to replace him. Cameron Maybin pinch hit for Juan Graterol and lined a single into right field. The ball beat the runner Kole Calhoun to the plate but Caleb Joseph could not catch the one hop throw and the Angels recaptured the lead.
Bud Norris put two runners on in the ninth, but struck out Caleb Joseph and got Tim Beckham to ground out back to the mound to end the game.
Game Notes: Cliff Pennington has a nice double play pivot. He turned two double plays…Trey Mancini does not have an arm in left field. He threw a rainbow to home on a single by Pujols…This is a tale of two teams going in opposite directions. The Angels improved their record to 64-60 while the Orioles fell to 60-64. The Angels are the second wild card team if the season ended today winning nine of their last 11 games. The O’s have at least three teams to jump if they want to make the wild card, losing 8 of their last 12…Oriole pitchers walked nine hitters. Kole Calhoun and Luis Valbuena walked three times each. Three of the nine walks scored.