MILWAUKEE — Angels closer Ernesto Frieri threw pitch after pitch to Jonathan Lucroy with the bases loaded in the eighth inning Sunday, only to watch Lucroy keep fouling them off.
Finally, on his 12th delivery, Frieri got Lucroy to swing and miss, ending the long at-bat. Frieri then struck out rookie Khris Davis and pitched a scoreless ninth to help the Angels hold on for a 5-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers and a three-game sweep of their interleague series.
Lucroy is “one of the toughest hitters I’ve faced all season,” said Frieri, who earned his 30th save in 34 chances. “He just kept on fighting and I just kept trying to get a pitch past him.”
During the at-bat, Lucroy lined one pitch just foul down the right-field line and then the next pitch just foul down the left-field line. If either ball had been fair, the Brewers probably would have tied the score or taken the lead.
“The one in right field would have been a triple if it was fair,” Frieri said.
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia called the battle between Frieri and Lucroy “about as good of an at-bat that you’re going to see.”
“That was about as clutch as it gets,” Scioscia said, adding Frieri “earned that one.”
Lucroy said he got himself out by swinging at Frieri’s pitches out of the strike zone.
“I swung at balls and I missed a couple of hangers,” he said. “I got myself out, so I’m not too happy about it. It’s the way the game is. It’s baseball. Things happen. Sometimes they fall, sometimes they don’t.”
The other key on the mound for the Angels was C.J. Wilson (14-6), who gave up three runs and three hits over six innings to improve to 10-1 in his last 15 starts. Wilson has gone 10 consecutive starts without a loss, tying his career high set in 2011 with Texas.
Scioscia said Wilson wasn’t as sharp Sunday as he has been in his last several starts but was good enough.
“He made key pitches when he had to,” the manager said. “He kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win.”
Mike Trout tripled and doubled among his three hits to help the Angels finish an 8-1 trip. They have won eight in a row against the Brewers in Milwaukee, dating to 1997.
J.B. Shuck hit a three-run double that put Los Angeles ahead in the seventh. Kole Calhoun had two RBIs.
“Our guys are playing hard and really getting after it every day,” Scioscia said.
Kyle Lohse went six innings for Milwaukee, giving up one run and seven hits. Rob Wooten (3-1) allowed three runs in relief.
Calhoun’s RBI single in the third gave the Angels a 1-0 lead.
Milwaukee tied it in the bottom half. Jeff Bianchi doubled to right and went to third when the ball got by Calhoun for an error. One out later, Lohse bunted in front of the plate and Bianchi was able to slide under the tag of catcher Hang Conger when the toss from Wilson was high.
Carlos Gomez’s two-run homer in the fourth gave the Brewers a 3-1 lead. It was his 19th of the season and first since Aug. 6.
The Angels grabbed the lead for good in the seventh by scoring four runs. Conger and Luis Jimenez singled to start the inning. Andrew Romine advanced both runners with a sacrifice, and pinch-hitter Josh Hamilton was intentionally walked.
Shuck then hit a grounder down the first-base line that hit the bag. The ball rolled into short right field and by the time Norichika Aoki could get it back in, all three runners had scored.
“That was a really big hit for us,” Scioscia said.
Calhoun’s RBI double made it 5-3.