Greinke's gem carries Angels to fourth straight win

Greinke's gem carries Angels to fourth straight win

Greinke's gem carries Angels to fourth straight win
DETROIT -- The Angels needed a strong start out of Zack Greinke on Friday -- not just because the bullpen had been taxed from a 10-inning affair in Boston on Thursday, but because they needed to restore the 28-year-old's confidence after the roughest stretch of his career.

Apparently a start in Detroit is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Greinke fired eight innings of one-run ball to lead the Angels to a 2-1 win over the Tigers at Comerica Park. It's his second win with the Halos, and it put the club on a four-game winning streak.

"We were definitely looking for that," said outfielder Torii Hunter of Greinke's outing. "His last start was pretty good, and you could see signs that he was starting to get comfortable with the team, trying to find a home and different things like that.

"He's starting to talk to us a lot more, so it showed tonight against one of the best lineups in the game, and he was able to do some damage."

Although Greinke said that he had been comfortable with his new team "for a while," manager Mike Scioscia and some of his teammates thought differently -- not because of the way the right-hander acted, but because of other factors.

Scioscia talked about the relationship between Greinke and catcher Chris Iannetta as well as Greinke having to adjust from the National League to the American League midseason.

But after the way Greinke pitched on Friday, allowing one run on five hits while walking just two, Scioscia believes the adjustment period is just about over.

"I think he's getting more comfortable now, and I think he's getting acclimated to everything," Scioscia said. "Definitely felt better with his delivery tonight. He could throw [all his pitches] on any count, and it was a great game."

For Greinke, August has been like nothing he's experienced before. He's uncharacteristically struggled to find his control -- 12 walks in four starts -- which led to four consecutive outings of allowing at least four runs for the first time in his career.

But he was a much different, much more efficient pitcher against Detroit, which enabled him to hold the Tigers scoreless until two outs in the eighth inning, when Miguel Cabrera hit his 32nd home run to deep left field.

Still, it was the deepest into a game an Angels pitcher has held a team scoreless since Jered Weaver threw a complete game vs. Oakland on Aug. 6.

"Command felt real good. As good as it's felt in a long time, maybe all year," Greinke said. "It was really good command, and hopefully it continues. I'll do whatever I can to try and keep it there."

For much of the game, it was a pitchers' duel between Greinke and Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello. Greinke had retired 11 straight from the third inning until the sixth, and Porcello had contained the Angels to five hits and no runs through five.

It wasn't until the sixth that the Angels broke through with the game's first runs.

Maicer Izturis singled and Hunter was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Mark Trumbo hit what would have been an inning-ending double play, but Hunter slid hard into second to force a late throw by second baseman Omar Infante.

"That was the key play of the game," Scioscia said. "That's the way Torii plays. He busted it, kept that inning alive, and it turned out to be a huge play."

The play extended the inning and brought Howie Kendrick to the plate. On an 0-2 count, Porcello left one up in the zone, and the second baseman made him pay, driving it into the gap in left-center for a two-run double.

"He had been cruising along all night, and I just happened to get one mistake and put a good swing on it," Kendrick said.

Tigers catcher Alex Avila had a simple way to sum up the game.

"One mistake for each pitcher. [Ours] came with guys on base," Avila said.

Despite the team entering the day with a league-worst 6.57 ERA for the month, the two runs would be all the help the pitching staff needed to seal the victory.

Scott Downs replaced Greinke and got two key outs -- including forcing Prince Fielder into a groundout following Cabrera's home run. And Garrett Richards recorded his first save, ending the game on two strikeouts.

After going 3-7 during their recent 10-game homestead, the Halos are 4-0 on their six-game road trip after Friday's win. They began the trip four games behind the second Wild Card spot. Now they're only 2 1/2 back.

"We go on the road, and it seems like [we're] rejuvenated," Kendrick said. "A lot of guys here are just trying to play hard and keep this thing rolling."

Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.