Giavotella's knock lifts Angels to sweep over Tigers
By Jason Beck and David Adler
ANAHEIM -- With David Price out of the game Sunday night, the Angels finally broke through for two huge eighth-inning runs, with Johnny Giavotella's two-out, two-run single leading them to a 4-2 win and a four-game sweep of the Tigers at Angel Stadium.
Price turned in a bulldog performance -- throwing 121 pitches in 7 2/3 innings, and getting pinch-hitter Carlos Perez to pop into an infield fly with the bases loaded in his final at-bat of the night. But Joba Chamberlain, on in relief with the game tied at two, surrendered Giavotella's single up the middle, and Angels closer Huston Street locked up the win in the ninth.
"David pitched his tail off," Chamberlain said. "I threw a good pitch and [Giavotella] put a swing on it. He hit it where we weren't. You can't really say anything different than that." More >
The Tigers' offense struggled again -- they scored two runs or fewer three times in the series -- tallying runs on a sac fly and an error. Angels starter Matt Shoemaker contributed to that Sunday with his second solid start in a row, throwing 5 1/3 innings and allowing two runs (one earned). It was also his second straight start without allowing a home run, after he had surrendered an American League-high 13 in his first eight starts of 2015.
Detroit lost with Price on the mound for just the second time all year, and the first time in Price's past seven starts. The Angels, who have won 13 of their past 14 games against the Tigers at home, moved to three games above .500 for the first time all year at 27-24.
"Well, we don't have a crystal ball, but there's no doubt that we played a really good club this weekend and we played good baseball," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't think we have to overthink this. We won a ballgame today; we've got another ballgame tomorrow. But any time you play a good club and you play well, it has to carry some confidence forward, and hopefully this will."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Bedrosian bails himself out: Angels reliever Cam Bedrosian got himself into trouble in the seventh inning of a 2-2 game, issuing back-to-back walks to load the bases for Yoenis Cespedes. When Cespedes stepped into the batter's box, Bedrosian had thrown more balls than strikes, but he got ahead of the Tigers' cleanup hitter, 1-2, and popped Cespedes up to short right field to keep the game tied, setting the stage for Giavotella's hit in the eighth.
Price controls: Price took a no-hitter into the fourth inning and a shutout into the fifth before a four-hit frame put him behind. However, he avoided the big inning -- he has had four innings of three runs or more this season -- by retiring Albert Pujols and striking out David Freese, keeping the Tigers close enough to tie it again in the sixth.
"One hard-hit ball that inning. It's baseball," Price said. "Keep us in it. They battled back and scored a run the next inning, so that's huge." More >
Green gets things started: The bottom of the order keyed the Angels in a two-run fifth inning that gave them their first lead of the game. Grant Green, hitting seventh, led off with an infield single, and Giavotella put runners on second and third with a double out of the nine-hole. Erick Aybar -- back in the lineup for the first time since Thursday -- and Mike Trout followed with back-to-back RBI singles to put the Angels ahead, 2-1.
"Price is a tough guy. You want every part of the order to get going," Green said. "With the lower third, if you can get on base for the big boys -- Aybar, Trout, Pujols and Freese -- it always helps, no matter who you're facing."
Angels outlast Price: Price has given up his share of damage after the 100-pitch mark this season, with opponents batting 10-for-20, but he hadn't surrendered a walk in that stretch until Sunday. A leadoff walk to Freese put the Angels' offense in motion, pushing him over the 120-pitch mark before getting the second out.
"I felt fine," Price said. "I work hard. That's not an issue. That's not a problem. I felt good. That's baseball."
"The biggest thing for me is better focus on the mound. … The focus allows me to keep the ball down more. But also the in-between bullpen work. The in-between bullpens, I'm trying to focus on pounding the ball down in the zone -- sometimes even below the catcher's knees. Just like, 'Hey, if I'm gonna miss, I'm gonna miss low.'" -- Shoemaker, on how he's avoided giving up home runs in his past two starts
"Price, for sure -- especially after seeing him three times." -- Giavotella, on whether he would have rather faced Price 120 pitches in, or Chamberlain fresh in the eighth inning
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Price's 121 pitches marked his most in a game as a Tiger, and his highest total since Sept. 10, 2013, with the Rays against Boston. He has topped the 100-pitch mark in 10 of 11 starts this year, including each of his last seven outings.
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers: Detroit is off Monday, allowing some rest after an overnight trip back from California. The Tigers are home for just three games against the A's beginning Tuesday night, when Alfredo Simon takes the mound for a 7:08 p.m. ET start.
Angels:Garrett Richards will try to make up for a loss in his last start, as the Angels open a three-game set against the Rays at Angel Stadium on Monday at 7:05 p.m. PT.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.