ANAHEIM, Calif. — A sweep of the defending AL champion Detroit Tigers should give the Los Angeles Angels — particularly their much-maligned bullpen — a major shot of confidence going into their second series of the season with the AL-rival Texas Rangers.
Mark Trumbo homered leading off the bottom of the 13th inning, Albert Pujols doubled home two runs, and the relievers combined to hold the Tigers scoreless on four hits over the final seven innings of a 13-inning, 4-3 victory Sunday — completing the Halos’ second straight series sweep of Detroit.
“It was pretty well chronicled that we struggled early on. But three wins against a team of this caliber is an excellent sign,” Trumbo said.
Tigers lefty Phil Coke (0-2) intentionally walked Pujols with two outs and the bases empty in the 12th before striking out Josh Hamilton on three pitches. But Trumbo drove a 3-1 changeup into the upper tier of the double-decker bullpen in left field for his second homer of the season.
“He threw it 2-0, and hadn’t thrown a fastball for a strike,” Trumbo said. “The more mature you get as a hitter, the better educated guesses you can make. And in that case, I guessed right. That’s why you’ve got to pay attention to the game. I got some great scouting reports from my teammates who were up there, and they gave me a good idea of what to look for. That’s what it’s all about.”
Hamilton is hitting just .176 with two homers and eight RBIs through the first 17 games with his new club — just slightly better than Pujols was doing a year ago at this time in his first season with the Angels after leaving St. Louis. So Tigers manager Jim Leyland went for the unorthodox strategy of walking a three-time NL MVP and rolling the dice with the 2010 AL MVP.
“You have Coke against a right-hander like Albert Pujols, and a guy behind him who’s struggling. It’s not very comfortable to do that, to be honest, but I felt it gave us our best chance,” Leyland said. “We play these guys again (the last week of June), and next time, Hamilton will probably be on fire and have 30-something home runs. So we won’t feel comfortable doing that. But in this particular series, he wasn’t. So you take your chances.”
Jerome Williams (1-0) got the victory with three innings of two-hit relief.
Angels lefty C.J. Wilson allowed three runs and five hits in six innings, struck out four and walked four. He gave up a two-run homer to Prince Fielder that tied the score 3-all in the fifth after a leadoff walk to Torii Hunter. The left-hander also got out of bases-loaded jams in the first two innings.
“We were trying to work him a little bit and make some pitches, then get him out of there and get to the bullpen. But the their bullpen did a fantastic job,” Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter said. “We’ve been grinding, trying to get runs across the plate, and it’s just been tough for us. A 14-inning game and a 13-inning game can really wear you out. But we have no excuses. We have a day off Monday, so we’ll kick back, watch some basketball and come back Tuesday ready to go.”
The Angels made a bid to regain the lead in the seventh against Tigers starter Doug Fister. But Hamilton lined out to center field with a runner at third, after Mike Trout grounded into a double play and Pujols received his first intentional walk since the three he got on April 3 at Texas.
Los Angeles squandered another chance in the 10th when Joaquin Benoit struck out Howie Kendrick on a full-count pitch in the dirt after a double-steal by Trout and Trumbo, who was intentionally walked with two outs.
“I thought the entire bullpen was terrific, including Cokie,” Leyland said. “But we had a tough series. I thought the guys battled today. We pitched well and Prince hit a big home run, but I felt like we had an opportunity that was taken away from us.”
Leyland got into a lengthy argument with umpire Gary Darling in the Tigers’ ninth, after Darling called Omar Infante out at second base on Austin Jackson’s attempted sacrifice bunt to reliever Ernesto Frieri.
The Tigers left the bases loaded in the ninth, the third time in the game they failed to capitalize in that situation. They stranded 13 runners all together, and the Angels left 10 on base.
Hunter, who spent the previous five seasons with the Angels was 3 for 12 with three walks and no RBIs in his first series against his former teammates.
The Angels’ first two runs scored on Pujols’ double off the glove of third baseman Cabrera. Fister then plunked Hamilton, and Trumbo hit a potential inning-ending double-play grounder to Cabrera. But the relay to first by second baseman Infante was low and bounced off Fielder’s glove, allowing Pujols to score.
Fister allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings. The right-hander also hit three batters, two of them during a three-run third that gave the Angels a 3-1 lead. Detroit’s pitching staff has hit seven batters through the first 18 games — six by Fister, who plunked seven last season in 161 2/3 innings.
RANGERS 11, MARINERS 3
ARLINGTON, Texas — Nelson Cruz hit his fifth career grand slam, one of four home runs by the Texas Rangers in a victory that completed a three-game sweep over the Mariners.
Cruz went way deep, an estimated 431 feet to left-center field, to cap a five-run fifth that chased Aaron Harang (0-2).
Leonys Martin, Mitch Moreland and Adrian Beltre also homered for the Rangers, whose 11 runs were a season high. Martin had a triple leading off the fifth before scoring on Ian Kinsler’s bloop single to right.
Justin Grimm (1-0) struck out nine and walked one over six innings in his fourth major-league start, the second this season. The right-hander allowed two runs, including an unearned run in the first that snapped the Mariners’ 19-inning scoreless streak after they were shut out the first two games of the series.
INDIANS 5, ASTROS 4
HOUSTON — Mark Reynolds’ seventh homer of the season put Cleveland on top in the seventh inning and the Indians held on for a win over the Astros.
The home run by Reynolds, who also homered in Cleveland’s 19-6 win Saturday, was one of four solo shots for the Indians, who took two of three in the series.
Carlos Santana, Drew Stubbs and Yan Gomes also connected for the Indians.
The game was tied at 4 in the seventh inning before the two-out full-count homer to left-center by Reynolds off Hector Ambriz (0-1).
Cody Allen (1-0) got the final out of the sixth and Chris Perez pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save in three opportunities.
TWINS 5, WHITE SOX 3
CHICAGO — Josh Willingham atoned for an earlier misplay with a tiebreaking three-run double in Minnesota’s four-run seventh inning, leading the Twins to a victory over the slumping White Sox.
Aaron Hicks singled in a run and Justin Morneau had a bases-loaded walk as Minnesota swept a pair of weekend games against Chicago to stretch its winning streak to four.
Scott Diamond (1-1) pitched six effective innings, keeping the Twins in the game while they struggled to score against Gavin Floyd. Diamond allowed two runs, one earned, and four hits in his first start since he made his season debut in a loss to the New York Mets on April 13.
Chicago led 2-1 before Hicks drove in Trevor Plouffe with a single to right against Matt Lindstrom (1-1) in the seventh. Minnesota went on to load the bases when Donnie Veal issued a two-out walk to Joe Mauer, and Willingham drove the first pitch from Jesse Crain deep to center to give the Twins a 5-2 lead.
RAYS 8, ATHLETICS 1
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Roberto Hernandez pitched six effective innings for his first win since he was known as Fausto Carmona, and the Tampa Bay Rays complete a three-game sweep of the Athletics.
Hernandez (1-3) allowed one run, three hits, three walks and had seven strikeouts in his first win since Sept. 20, 2011, while with Cleveland.
Oakland starter Tommy Milone (3-1) had his season-opening three-game winning streak end. The left-hander gave up six runs and eight hits over 6 2-3 innings.
Jake McGee and Brandon Gomes completed the three-hitter. One day after having a DJ play music in the clubhouse to help relax his team, Rays manager Joe Maddon had a magician doing card tricks Sunday.
BLUE JAYS 8, YANKEES 4
TORONTO — J.P. Arencibia hit a two-run homer, Melky Cabrera had three hits and the Blue Jays rallied for a victory over the Yankees after Josh Johnson walked in the tying and go-ahead runs.
Brett Cecil (1-0) worked 1 1-3 innings for the win as the Blue Jays capped a seven-game homestand on a winning note.
Esmil Rogers worked 1 1-3 innings and Darren Oliver pitched the ninth for Toronto.
Chris Stewart hit a solo homer for the Yankees, who had won nine of their previous 11.
Adam Lind walked and Arencibia doubled, bringing Boone Logan (0-1) gave up a two-run double to Brett Lawrie and an RBI single to Cabrera in a four-run sixth that gave Toronto the lead.
Zito, Giants sweep Cards
SAN FRANCISCO — Barry Zito and Chad Gaudin combined on a six-hitter, Buster Posey homered and the San Francisco Giants beat the San Diego Padres 5-0 to complete a three-game sweep.
Zito (3-1) bounced back from the worst start of big league career to beat the Padres for the first time in nearly two years. He allowed five hits in seven innings, struck out four, walked one and did not give up run for the third time in four starts.
Posey’s first home run of the season was just the 11th this year for the power-starved Giants. Before the two-out, two-run drive off Eric Stults (2-2) in the fifth, Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Crawford had accounted for all of San Francisco’s homers.
METS 2, NATIONALS 0
NEW YORK — John Buck hit his seventh home run of the season, Dillon Gee earned his first win and the Mets beat the Nationals to take two of three games from the NL East champions.
Coming off a pair of poor starts, Gee (1-3) pitched three-hit ball for 5 2-3 innings and New York finally got a strong effort from its struggling bullpen, which entered with the highest ERA in the majors at 5.47. Buck hit a drive into the second deck at Citi Field and Mike Baxter added a sacrifice fly as New York ran up Jordan Zimmermann’s pitch count in dealing the right-hander his first loss of the year.
Zimmermann (3-1) threw 96 pitches in five innings. He allowed two hits and three walks.
REDS 10, MARLINS 6
CINCINNATI — Brandon Phillips drove in the go-ahead run for the second straight day, Joey Votto homered and had three hits, and the Reds beat the Marlins for their sixth win in seven games.
Todd Frazier hit a three-run double in an eight-run seventh inning for the Reds, who won three of four from the Marlins and improved to a major league-best 10-3 at home.
With the score 2-2, Shin-Soo Choo drew Cincinnati’s fifth walk off Alex Sanabia (2-2), who also hit Chin with a pair of pitches. Singles by Xavier Paul and Votto loaded the bases, and Phillips had an RBI single against Jon Rauch, and Paul scored when right fielder Giancarlo Stanton bobbled the ball for an error.
Logan Ondrusek (1-0) struck out the side in the seventh to win in relief of Homer Bailey, who allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings with eight strikeouts and three walks.
PIRATES 4, BRAVES 2
PITTSBURGH — Slumping Clint Barmes had a pair of run-scoring singles for his first two RBIs of the season, including a tiebreaking hit in the sixth inning that led the Pirates over Atlanta for their third straight win over the Braves.
Barmes began the day with an .093 batting average and was in an 0-for-14 slide.
Kris Medlen (1-2) lost for first time in 29 regular-season start in which he was given a lead. He allowed three runs and six hits in six innings with six strikeouts and one walk.
Justin Wilson (1-0) got his first major league win by giving up one hit in 1 2-3 scoreless innings.
BREWERS 4, CUBS 2
MILWAUKEE — Ryan Braun hit a three-run homer in the fifth then was ejected three innings later, and the Brewers won their seventh straight.
The Brewers are 18-2 over the past 20 meetings with the Cubs at Miller Park. Milwaukee improved to 9-8 after losing eight of 10 to start the year.
Wily Peralta (1-1) pitched 6 2-3 innings for Milwaukee, giving up two runs and five hits.
Scott Feldman (0-3) gave up four runs on three hits in five innings and made an error before Braun’s homer.
DIAMONDBACKS 5, ROCKIES 4
DENVER — Didi Gregorius hit his second major league home run and singled to start a two-run rally in the ninth inning that led the Diamondbacks over Colorado and stopped the Rockies’ eight-game winning streak.
Gregorius, who homered Thursday at Yankee Stadium on the first pitch he saw with the Diamondbacks, started a comeback from a 3-0 deficit when he homered against Juan Nicasio leading off the fifth.
Colorado led 4-3 when Gregorius singled leading off the ninth against Wilton Lopez (0-1). A.J. Pollock doubled over third baseman Jonathan Herrera, and pinch-hitter Alfredo Marte grounded out to third, driving in the tying run. Gerardo Parra followed with a sacrifice fly to deep center.
Heath Bell (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth.
PHILLIES 7, CARDINALS 3
PHILADELPHIA — Erik Kratz hit a three-run home run to break the game open in the eighth inning and lead the Phillies to a win over the Cardinals.
Mike Adams (1-1) tossed a scoreless eighth inning to help the Phillies split the four-game series. The Phillies snapped a 3-3 tie with a four-run eighth that put the game away.
Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an infield single off reliever Mitchell Boggs (0-2). Dom Brown singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Ben Revere made it 4-3 on a go-ahead single up the middle.
Kratz then hit the first pitch deep into the left-field seats for a three-run homer and a 7-3 lead.
DODGERS 7, ORIOLES 4
BALTIMORE — Mark Ellis drove in three runs, and the Dodgers beat erratic Jake Arrieta and the Orioles to snap a six-game losing streak.
Matt Kemp singled in the go-ahead run during a four-run fifth inning, and the Dodgers received a solid performance from their bullpen in the finale of the three-game interleague series.
Making his fourth start of the season, Arrieta (1-1) allowed only two singles in four-plus innings. But he walked five — three of whom scored — and hit a batter, who also came home.
Adam Jones homered for the Orioles and Chris Davis had three hits.
Before the game, the Dodgers put scheduled starter Chad Billingsley on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow soreness and recalled Stephen Fife from Triple-A Albuquerque to take his place on the mound.
Fife, who started five games with Los Angeles last season, recovered from a rocky start to allow four runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings.
J.P. Howell (1-0) gave up a single before getting the final out in the fifth. Matt Guerrier and Paco Rodriguez each pitched a hitless inning, Kenley Jansen allowed a single in the eighth and Brandon League got three outs for his fifth save.