Resurgent bats, resilient 'pen deliver in team win

Resurgent bats, resilient 'pen deliver in team win

ARLINGTON -- Their lineup put a season-high 20 men on base despite facing one of the game's premier pitchers and receiving minimal production from Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Their middle relievers, weary from an arduous Saturday night, combined for four scoreless innings in relief of an exhausted, dehydrated Garrett Richards.

Sunday's 9-6 victory at Globe Life Park, which helped avoid a sweep to the division-rival Rangers, was as complete a win as the Angels have had all year.

"I couldn't have asked for any more out of this team," Richards said. "It was nice to see us come together."

Yunel Escobar reached base three times and gave the Angels a lead with a sacrifice fly. Kole Calhoun went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, a walk and a stolen base in his return -- temporary as it might be -- to the No. 2 spot. And C.J. Cron also notched three hits, including a two-out, two-run single against Cole Hamels that tied the game at 4 in the top of the fifth.

Cron's two-run single

Then there was Geovany Soto, who homered, raised his batting average to .344 and may start to get more playing time behind the plate. And Shane Robinson, called up to take the roster spot of an injured Craig Gentry, scoring three runs. And Cliff Pennington, 2-for-4 in his first start against an opposing left-handed pitcher.

"A good team win," Calhoun said.

Calhoun's RBI single

The Angels took pregame batting practice on the field, a rarity for day games, and manager Mike Scioscia noticed "a lot of energy" from his offense.

"We pressured them a lot," Scioscia said. "I can't say enough about our bullpen. These guys are pitching a lot, and they keep taking the ball."

The Angels' bullpen entered with the second-best ERA in the Majors over the last 10 games, giving up only six runs over the course of 34 1/3 innings. It is a unit that is without its closer -- Huston Street, who is on the disabled list with an oblique strain -- and one that was responsible for the final 5 2/3 innings in Saturday's loss.

On Sunday, Richards lasted only four innings, but four relievers -- Greg Mahle, Mike Morin, Jose Alvarez and Fernando Salas -- combined to allow five baserunners and zero runs from the start of the fifth to the end of the eighth.

Mahle, the rookie left-hander who picked up his first career win, struck out the left-handed-hitting Mitch Moreland with two on and two outs in the fifth, keeping the game tied just before the Angels pulled ahead in the next half-inning.

Morin followed with a 1-2-3 sixth, lowering his ERA to 2.61, and Alvarez, who recorded five outs on Saturday and wasn't even supposed to be available in the series finale, recorded the first out in the seventh. Salas allowed back-to-back two-out singles later that inning, but he struck out Ian Desmond with the go-ahead run on base and followed with a clean eighth.

Salas powers past Desmond

In between, the Angels' offense pulled away with three runs.

"We know we have to carry a bit of an extra load with Street getting healthy," Mahle said. "Everybody's going to have to step up. We know that, and we're ready for the challenge."

Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.