ANAHEIM -- Parker Bridwell fired six solid innings and the Angels capitalized on the Braves' sloppy infield defense in a wild nine-run third, giving the Halos a 9-3 victory on Tuesday night and evening their Interleague series at Angel Stadium. Albert Pujols ignited the huge inning with his 599th career homer, a three-run shot off Bartolo Colon that gave the Angels a 3-2 lead.
Bridwell, who was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday to make a spot start in place of the injured Alex Meyer, allowed three runs on six hits while walking one and striking out four to earn the win in his first career Major League start. He experienced only two blips in his Angels debut, surrendering a two-run homer run to Matt Kemp in the third and a solo shot to Tyler Flowers in the seventh.
"I don't know if it's hit me yet, honestly," Bridwell said. "It's something I've dreamed of for 25 years, to pitch in the big leagues, and to get a win just kind of tops it. I'm thankful for the offense that I had tonight and the run support. I can't say enough about the team and a great W."
Bridwell fell into some trouble in the first after yielding three consecutive one-out singles to the Braves, though he emerged from the inning unscathed after right fielder Kole Calhoun saved a run by throwing out Nick Markakis at home.
The 44-year-old Colon wasn't sure how to describe his club's unwinding.
"To be honest, I just felt like that third inning was just a weird inning for all of us," he said through an interpreter. "I wouldn't even be able to tell you how to explain it."
Pujols' homer left him one shy of 600, and he got his first chance to reach the exclusive milestone later in that inning, but he drew a walk off reliever Luke Jackson. The 37-year-old slugger then flied out in the fifth and struck out in the eighth, keeping his historic pursuit alive for at least one more night.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Pujols launches No. 599: The Angels erased a two-run deficit and seized the lead after Pujols pummeled a 3-2 fastball from Colon to left field for a go-ahead, three-run homer. An error by Atlanta second baseman Jace Peterson helped set up the homer. With a runner on first and one out, Calhoun hit a potential double-play ball to second that could have ended the inning, but Peterson botched the transfer, allowing Calhoun to reach first. Pujols followed with his eighth homer of the season, a 410-foot shot that flew off the bat at 106 mph, according to Statcast™. With one more homer, the slugger will become the ninth player in Major League history to join the 600-homer club. More >
"Numbers are numbers, but my main goal is to try to win a championship and to try to do whatever I can to help this ballclub day in and day out," Pujols said.
Braves' shaky defense: Peterson's error proved to be the first of many defensive gaffes in Atlanta's disastrous third, cracking the door open for the Angels, who tacked on six more runs. Luis Valbuena followed Pujols' homer with a single, and Andrelton Simmons reached on an error by shortstop Dansby Swanson. Ben Revere then chopped a grounder to first baseman Matt Adams, who fielded the ball but didn't throw it, allowing a run to score and Revere to reach on a fielder's choice. Colon induced a comebacker from Cliff Pennington, but he slipped on the mound while making the play and could not throw home in time to get Simmons. That brought up Danny Espinosa, who lined an RBI single to center field to extend the Halos' lead to 6-2. Juan Graterol, who led off the inning with a single, tapped another comebacker to Colon in his second plate appearance, but the veteran pitcher made an errant throw to second while trying to get the forceout, allowing Pennington to score. Eric Young Jr. and Calhoun capped the outburst with back-to-back RBI hits before Jackson finally ended the inning by coaxing a double play from Valbuena. All nine Halos batters scored in the third. More >
"I think we pressured them a little bit," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We had some guys in motion, put the ball in play. A lot of the miscues in that inning led to runs, which obviously got the momentum on our side."
"We were eating lunch today and my dad told me that I was five when he made his debut. So that's kind of weird to me, but he's a guy that's always been good, and I idolize him for having such a long and good career." -- Bridwell on facing Colon
"We don't turn the double play, don't make a couple other plays, and shoot ourselves in the foot, and it just kind of kept kind of snowballing. There were things you couldn't even think about happening [that] happened." -- Braves manager Brian Snitker on his team's poor defensive performance in the third inning
WHAT'S NEXT Braves: Jaime Garcia (2-3, 3.58 ERA) takes the mound for Atlanta looking to follow up his masterful outing against San Francisco. He won in his lone career start against the Angels, when he allowed two runs (none earned) on four hits and a walk while striking out eight batters in seven innings on May 11, 2016, as a member of the Cardinals. First pitch is scheduled for 10:07 p.m. ET.
Angels: Right-hander Jesse Chavez (4-6, 5.09 ERA) will start Wednesday's series finale against the Braves at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Chavez has faced Atlanta four times in relief, tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings.