CLEVELAND — The Angels got their much-maligned bullpen into alignment at Progressive Field, five relievers combining for 32/3 perfect innings in a 7-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night.
When the Angels left Anaheim on Thursday, their bullpen had a 1-7 record, 7.68 earned-run average and five blown saves in 13 games. In winning two in a row in Cleveland, relievers have retired 17 of 18 batters.
“The separation of some ground we could have made up these last two weeks definitely points to some guys in the bullpen who had a rough 10-game stretch,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “We have some good arms down there. When they throw the ball the way they can, they can shut down teams and hold leads.”
The Angels scored six of seven runs on outs or errors and blew the game open with a four-run eighth that was aided by two errors. A key point came in the sixth after the Indians pulled to within 3-2 on Michael Bourn’s run-scoring single, which knocked struggling starter C.J. Wilson out of the game and put runners on first and third with one out.
But right-hander Michael Kohn got Nick Swisher to pop out to second, and left-hander Buddy Boshers, making his big league debut, struck out All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis on a curve in the dirt.
“I can’t even describe the feeling,” said Boshers, who was called up from triple A on Saturday. “It was almost a blur in a sense. Everything happened so fast, I didn’t have time to embrace the situation.”
J.C. Gutierrez retired the side in order in the seventh, Kevin Jepsen struck out the side in the eighth and demoted closer Ernesto Frieri, who had a 23.14 ERA in his previous seven games, threw a 1-2-3 ninth.
“He looked really at ease, and the ball was coming out of his hand well,” Scioscia said of Frieri. “A bunch of individuals make up that group. Each one may have different makeup, but there’s nothing like success to feel good about where you need to be and to carry that confidence forward.”
Wilson (12-6) called his start “arduous,” an accurate assessment. The left-hander threw 117 pitches in 51/3 innings, allowing seven hits, walking four and hitting a batter, but he limited the damage to two runs.
Erick Aybar (fielder’s-choice grounder), Chris Nelson (single) and J.B. Shuck (sacrifice fly) drove in runs in the eighth, and Chris Iannetta walked three times and scored twice.
Off the air
A St. Louis media company pulled the plug on a radio show hosted by former big leaguer Jack Clark, whose accusations that Albert Pujols used performance-enhancing drugs in his early years with the St. Louis Cardinals drew a sharp rebuke from the Angels slugger.
Clark, who began working at WGNU last week, based his claims on conversations he said he had with Chris Mihlfeld, Pujols’ former personal trainer, who worked with the Dodgers when Clark was the team’s hitting coach in 2000.
Mihlfeld and Pujols both denied the allegations, and Pujols threatened legal action against Clark and his employer, InsideSTL Enterprises.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported early Saturday that InsideSTL Enterprises issued a statement saying it had “terminated its relationship with Jack Clark and [co-host] Kevin Slaten. As independent contractors, we want to make it clear that the opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions of InsideSTL.”
Mike Trout walked in the eighth inning and has reached base in 40 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in club history behind Orlando Cabrera’s 63-game streak in 2006 Boshers, 25, is the 24th pitcher the Angels have used this season, five short of the club-record 29 pitchers used in 1996. He had a 1.53 ERA in 192/3 innings at Salt Lake when he was informed of his promotion Friday night. “I got 30 minutes of sleep because my mind has been going 100 mph since I heard the news,” he said Jason Vargas, out since June 26 surgery to remove a blood clot in his left armpit, will throw a bullpen session Sunday and is expected to return to the rotation Tuesday in Yankee Stadium Center fielder Peter Bourjos went two for four with two doubles and an RBI for Salt Lake on Saturday night.