Dan Haren gets first win as an Angel
Two leagues, two teams and nearly two months later, the drought is over for Dan Haren, who gave up one run and five hits in seven innings of the Angels’ 3-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Angel Stadium on Tuesday night.
It marked the first victory since a June 12 win over St. Louis for Haren, the right-hander who was acquired in a July 25 trade with Arizona. Haren (8-10) was winless in 10 starts, including his first three with the Angels.
“It’s hard to win a game in the big leagues, but it’s not that hard,” said Haren, who struck out three and walked one. “I really wanted the team to win a game I pitched.
“That was the toughest part — the team didn’t win any of my first three games. You come in the clubhouse, it’s all quiet. It’s tough driving home on those nights.”
Though Haren said his pitches were “all over the place,” he gave up only two singles from the third through sixth innings and got Willie Bloomquist to ground to third with the bases loaded to end the seventh.
Second baseman Maicer Izturis helped setup man Fernando Rodney escape a jam in the eighth, making a diving catch of Kila Ka’aihue’s liner to end the inning with a runner on second.
Closer Brian Fuentes needed only seven pitches to retire the side on three fly-ball outs in the ninth for his 23rd save. The left-hander has yielded only one earned run in 18 innings over his last 18 appearances, an ERA of 0.50.
The Angels, who remained 8 1/2 games behind Texas in the American League West, snapped a 1-1 tie with two runs in the fifth, a rally Howie Kendrick sparked with a leadoff double to left-center. Kendrick took third on Mike Napoli’s fly to center and scored on Peter Bourjos’ suicide squeeze.
“A rookie not only got the sign, but he got the bunt down,” Manager Mike Scioscia said after the Angels won for the fourth time in five games. “Howie got a good jump. That was a big play.”
Bobby Abreu, who doubled and scored on Hideki Matsui’s first-inning sacrifice fly, kept the inning alive with a single, and Erick Aybar’s triple to right scored Abreu for a 3-1 lead.
Torii Hunter, ejected from Friday’s game in Detroit for a nasty argument with umpire Ron Kulpa, will return to the lineup Wednesday after completing a four-game suspension that the right fielder likened to a short prison sentence.
“I feel like an outcast. I feel bad, man,” said Hunter, who worked out with the team Monday and Tuesday afternoon but watched the last two games from his home in Newport Beach.
“I’ve been serving my sentence. I’ve got 24 more hours. Then I get released. The first thing I’m going to do is eat a hamburger. I’m going to call my wife and tell her I’m coming home.”
Bell to bullpen
Scioscia will use off days Thursday and Monday to skip Trevor Bell in the rotation, allowing the Angels to use a four-man staff of Ervin Santana, Haren, Jered Weaver and Scott Kazmir until Aug. 21.
Bell, who gave up six runs — four earned — and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings of Sunday’s 9-4 loss in Detroit, will pitch out of the bullpen.
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