Club is 6-0 since break and is getting contributions from top to bottom
By Fabian Ardaya
ANAHEIM -- Already up 1-0 in the first inning with runners on the corners and one out, Angels manager Mike Scioscia decided it was time to tell first baseman Jefry Marte to let it rip.
Marte didn't miss, driving a three-run shot that would power the Angels to a 7-4 win over the Rangers on Wednesday night. It was their sixth win in a row, securing a 6-0 homestand after the All-Star break and just the second perfect homestand of six or more games for the club since 2004.
The 25-year-old Marte, facing a 3-0 count, saw a 94-mph fastball from left-hander Martin Perez and ripped it into the rock formation in left-center field, drawing a noticeable gasp from the crowd of 37,095 at Angel Stadium. The homer traveled a Statcast-projected 455 feet, the second-longest blast and the longest one hit at home for the Angels this season.
"With guys in scoring position, there no doubt that when guys get a good pitch to hit you want to be aggressive," Scioscia said of the decision to tell Marte to swing away. "Jefry doesn't expand too much, especially against left-handed pitchers, so we were fairly confident that if it was a ball he was going to take the walk and if it was there he was going to put a good swing on it."
The Angels recorded seven runs for the fourth consecutive game, doing so for the first time since July 25-29, 2007.
The Angels have won 10 of their last 12 games, largely due to an offense that has scored more runs -- 110 -- than any team in the Majors in July. Scioscia said he feels his lineup has more depth than ever as of late.
"We're getting contributions from a lot of guys," Scioscia said. "Our lineup is getting deeper. You see Jefry Marte get a big hit for us. I think our baserunning has been better, our situational hitting has been really good and our on-base percentage for the last month has been terrific."
The middle of the order has had success. Center fielder Mike Trout launched a game-sealing homer Friday, and has even seen more opportunities to hit as designated hitter Albert Pujols has flashed much of his past dominant form. Pujols -- who had multi-homer games in two of the previous three games -- went 2-for-4 on Wednesday, chipping in his 12th RBI in the last four games with a first-inning single. He's on a torrid stretch, hitting .342 over his last 21 games.
More important is the bottom of the order contributing. First baseman Ji-Man Choi launched his first career home run to spark a comeback Monday. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has turned it on, with a .381 average since June 23. Wednesday night, it was Marte's turn.
"That's the thing about this team right now," Marte said. "We're all going together. One day it's Pujols, another it's Trout, today it's me. Anyone can do it. We just have to keep it going."
Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.