Angels’ Dan Haren throws a two-hitter to beat Detroit, 1-0

All that was missing was Alistair Cooke.

Dan Haren and Justin Verlander staged an episode of Masterpiece Theater on Tuesday night, two of the game’s best right-handers squaring off in Angel Stadium for an epic pitchers’ duel.

Verlander had the more impressive resume, a nine-game winning streak, American League pitcher of the month honors for June, an 11-3 record, 2.32 earned-run average and a league-leading 130 strikeouts.

But Haren got the best of the Detroit ace, throwing his fourth career shutout, a two-hitter with nine strikeouts and no walks to lead the Angels to a 1-0 victory and their 10th win in the last 12 games.


Haren (9-5), who ran his scoreless innings streak to 162/3 and lowered his ERA to 2.65, retired the last 15 batters after giving up Jhonny Peralta’s leadoff single in the fifth inning. He threw 122 pitches, 87 for strikes. He threw first-pitch strikes to 23 of 30 batters.

One other thing: Haren, showing what Manager Mike Scioscia called “the best split-fingered fastball we’ve seen in a long time,” earned his 100th win.

“Danny should frame that one, because that was incredible,” Scioscia said. “That’s a very tough lineup — they have power all the way through — and he’s facing Verlander, who is not going to give you much room for error. He kept a great offensive team off-balance all night.”

Verlander suffered his first loss since April 27, giving up one run and seven hits in 72/3 innings, striking out eight and walking two. After being pulled in the eight inning, Verlander gestured at two umpires and was ejected.

Angels designated hitter Bobby Abreu was ejected in the first inning for arguing a called third strike. Tigers Manager Jim Leyland was ejected before the seventh inning, and Detroit pitcher Rick Porcello was ejected in the ninth.

Haren, it seemed, was the last man standing.

“I’m real happy for the team, and personally, the 100th win is special,” Haren said. “I don’t think I’m going to win 200 more games, but this one, it feels good.”

Haren threw a one-hitter to beat Cleveland on April 12, “but in that game, I didn’t have everything working,” Haren said. “Tonight, I had everything working well.”

The Angels scored on a daring dash on the bases by Howie Kendrick, but he would not have been in position to score if not for a blown call by first base umpire Joe West.

With one out in the second inning, Kendrick hit a slow grounder to shortstop Peralta, who charged, fielded the ball and made an off-balance throw to first.

West called Kendrick safe on a close play, but replays showed first baseman Victor Martinez caught the high throw and kept his foot on the bag just before Kendrick hit first.

Aybar followed with a hit-and-run double past the diving Martinez, and when right fielder Magglio Ordonez fielded the ball and threw all the way to second, third base coach Dino Ebel alertly waved Kendrick around third.

“Dino read it perfectly,” Scioscia said, “and Howie did a great job of baserunning.”

Peralta took the throw from the outfield and fired home, but he had no chance to get Kendrick, who slid in for a 1-0 lead.

“Give credit to Howie, because he never gave up running, and that made my decision easier,” Ebel said. “If Ordonez fires it to the cut-off man, I’ve got to kill the play.”

The Angels loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, but Verlander struck out Jeff Mathis, got Maicer Izturis to pop to short and Torii Hunter to line out to center field.

That dropped the Angels’ average with the bases loaded to .196 (10 for 51), the second-worst mark in the majors ahead of only the Dodgers.

That hardly deterred Haren.

“The biggest inning for me was the sixth,” Haren said. “The momentum kind of shifted when we didn’t score with the bases loaded, but going one-two-three that inning got momentum back on our side. We still had a 1-0 lead. We were fine.”