Balance of power returns to the resurgent Angels

Balance of power returns to the resurgent Angels
Angels third baseman Conor Gillaspie applies the tag to Orioles baserunner Nolan Reimold after Kole Calhoun threw a dart from right field. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chris Iannetta

could sense the frustration of


fans last week after the team played three lackluster games in Houston and was swept by the


to fall out of first place in the

American League West


“They're fans, they're emotionally invested, they want us to be in first place, they want us to win 161 games,” the Angels catcher said. “That's not going to happen. We're going to have some good games and some bad games. We're going to ride the ups and downs. We're going to oscillate.”

And sometimes they're going to do all of the above in the same game, as they did Friday night in an 8-4 victory over the

Baltimore Orioles

that pulled the Angels to within 11/2 games of the first-place Astros.

The Angels racked up 13 hits, two of them home runs, a breakout night for a team that mustered only 16 runs and 39 hits in its previous seven games.

“We had good at-bats all night,” Manager

Mike Scioscia

said. “We were deep, and we made them fight every inning. We have more offense than we've shown.”


The night began with much promise as

Mike Trout

, who turned 24 on Friday, hit a first-inning home run to center field — his major league-leading 33rd of the season — to become the first player in baseball history to homer on three different birthdays before turning 25.

“It seems like he's had a lot of birthdays,” Scioscia said. “He's hit a lot of home runs.”

The Orioles scored once in the third and took a 3-1 lead in the fourth on

Jonathan Schoop

's two-run homer to left field off

Andrew Heaney


The Angels tied the score, 3-3, in the bottom of the fourth when Trout and Albert Pujols walked,

David Murphy

poked a run-scoring single to left and

Johnny Giavotella

drove a two-out, run-scoring double to left field.

Baltimore went ahead in the sixth when Matt Wieters lined a solo homer to left off Heaney, who entered with a 5-1 record and 1.97 earned-run average but was nicked for four runs and 10 hits in 52/3 innings. The left-hander had not given up more than two runs in any of his first seven starts, but the bullpen picked him up by combining to give up only two hits over the last 31/3 innings.

Schoop's two-out single and

Junior Lake

's double put runners on second and third with two outs, and Giavotella, the Angels' second baseman, kept the door open by dropping

Nolan Reimold

's popup after a long run into foul territory for an error.

But reliever

Fernando Salas

struck out Reimold to snuff out the rally.

The game swung back toward the Angels in the bottom of the sixth, when Murphy singled, Giavotella singled with two outs and Iannetta, mired in a two-for-26 slump that dropped his average to .190, drove a two-run double to left just out of the reach of Reimold for a 5-4 lead.

“The last week has been rough, really rough,” Iannetta said. “I was just missing balls left and right. So it was good to barrel one up and get a hit.”

David DeJesus

capped the rally with an RBI single to make it 6-4, and the Angels all but sealed the victory in the seventh when C.J. Cron blasted a pinch-hit, two-run homer to left-center that traveled an estimated 456 feet, the first pinch-hit homer of the season for the Angels. Strong throws by right fielder Kole Calhoun and Trout also prevented the Orioles from doing more damage in the third.

Reimold led off with an infield single and tried to take third on

Gerardo Parra

's single to right, but Calhoun threw a bullet on the fly to Conor Gillaspie, who tagged out Reimold.

It was the seventh outfield assist for Calhoun, who is tied for fifth in the major leagues. Parra took second on the throw and scored on

Adam Jones

' drive off the center-field wall, but Trout fielded the ball cleanly and made a quick and accurate one-hop throw to second to nail Jones to end the inning.

“One cleaned up an inning, and one saved a run, so obviously they're huge defensive plays,” Scioscia said. “They're both

Gold Glove


Up next

Right-hander Garrett Richards (11-8, 3.46 ERA) will oppose Baltimore right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (8-7, 4.04) at Angel Stadium on Saturday at 6 p.m. TV: FS West; Radio: 830, 1330.

Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna