Double your pleasure, double your fun. Double up the Athletics all night long.
The Angels completed the two-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics courtesy of Shane Loux and the double play. Loux was rolling on the night as it was, allowing just five hits and one walk through seven innings, so when the Athletics helped him out by way of three double plays, they never had a chance. The first GIDP came in the second inning to get Loux out of a bases loaded jam. The very next inning it was a double play of the strike 'em out, throw 'em out variety. Finally, Gregorio Petit rolled into another twin killing in the fifth, wasting a leadoff single, ending the Oakland threat for good, or so it seemed until Scot Shields came in for the ninth inning.
The Angels did some doubling of their own though, only this time it was Gary Matthews (who is bordering on earning the title "the resurgent Gary Matthews") ripping a two-run double in the fourth to give Loux a comfortable three-run lead to work with. Matthews finished the night with 3 RBIs and gave Mike Scioscia yet another viable candidate to bat second in the line-up should he ever tire of Maicer Izturis.
Chone Figgins chipped in the other two RBIs to round out the scoring. Amazingly, the five runs the Angels scored last night extended their recent offensive surge and the Halos have now scored 5 or more runs in 9 of the last 12 games.
- Erick Aybar was back in the line-up and it looks like the ball to the face knocked some sense into him as he smacked two base hits, scored two runs, executed a sac bunt and was involved in all three double plays.
- Nice to see Darren Oliver back and showing no signs of rust or residual injury. Anything to give the bullpen one more reliable arm right now can't be a bad thing.
Halo Hero of the Night:
- That darn bullpen is at it again. Scot Shields' dinger to Matt Holliday prevented the Angels relievers from stringing together consecutive shutout nights for the first time this season. Just when it seems one guy has got it going right (Arredondo) another one falls off the wagon (Shields). It is like playing Whack-A-Mole only with relief pitchers.
- The new found Angel patience at the plate appears to be waning. The team has only drawn two bases on balls in the last two game. Better plate discipline has been the key to this ragtag squad of hitters coming alive in the last few weeks and it would be a major mistake for them to get away from that.
The sinker was sinking and the ground balls were rolling. Loux had the Oakland hitters baffled and pounding balls into the ground, leading to a very efficient 99-pitch seven innings of work. With John Lackey and Ervin Santana on the verge of returning, Loux is making a very strong case to hold onto his slot in the rotation.