Albert Pujols homers twice in Angels’ 6-2 win over Rays

Albert Pujols
Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols rounds second base after hitting a solo home run in the first inning of a 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.
(Paul Buck / EPA)

KEY MOMENT: The Angels had runners on second and third with one out in the fourth inning when Collin Cowgill chopped a grounder that went off the glove of Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, a two-time Gold Glove Award winner, for an error. Tampa Bay would have had an excellent chance of cutting down a run at the plate. Instead, two runs scored, pushing the Angels’ lead to 5-0.

AT THE PLATE: Albert Pujols, mired in a five-for-42 (.119) slump that dropped his average from .302 on May 6 to .257 on Saturday, lined a solo homer to center in the first, singled to left in the third and hit a solo homer to left in the seventh, all off Rays ace David Price. The 48th multi-homer game of his career tied Pujols with Eddie Murray for 25th on baseball’s all-time list with 504 homers. Grant Green had three singles and a run batted in to push his average to .368.

ON THE MOUND: Rookie Mike Morin’s nine-inning scoreless streak to start his career was snapped when he gave up a two-run homer to Kevin Kiermaier in the seventh. Joe Smith, facing the top of the order in a three-run game, gave up a single and struck out two in a scoreless eighth. Ernesto Frieri gave up a leadoff single before striking out two of the next three batters in a scoreless ninth.

REHAB REPORT: Kole Calhoun (right ankle sprain) had three hits, including a two-run triple, for triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday and is seven for 10 in three games, but Manager Mike Scioscia said the right fielder’s return will hinge on how he runs the bases, moves in the outfield and how his ankle recovers on a daily basis. … David Freese (right middle finger fracture) played third base and was hitless in three at-bats for Salt Lake on Sunday. He appears several days away from a return.


QUOTEBOOK: “Don’t try to kill yourself in the cage because you’re 0-for-five or 0-for-10. I’ve been around this game long enough. I know what I’m capable of doing. Today, I didn’t pick up a bat until 12:15 p.m. to get ready for the game. Sometimes you need more of a mental break. Sometimes when you’re struggling, you need to back off a little bit.” — Pujols on handling his slump.

EXTRA BASES: Josh Hamilton (torn left thumb ligament) has been taking batting practice and should be ready to begin a minor league stint by Friday. He hopes to return next week in Seattle. … Reliever Dane De La Rosa, whose rehabilitation assignment was interrupted last week by shoulder discomfort, threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Sunday and could resume his rehab stint this week.

UP NEXT: Right-hander Garrett Richards (4-0, 2.42 ERA) will oppose Houston left-hander Dallas Keuchel (4-2, 3.06) at Angel Stadium at 7 p.m. On the air: FS West. Radio: 830.

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