Pujols' RBI single in 9th gives Angels 4-3 win over Padres
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) It's a no-win situation: pitch to reigning AL MVP Mike Trout with the potential winning run at third base and two out in the ninth inning, or walk him intentionally and try your luck with three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols.
That was the predicament San Diego Padres manager Bud Black faced. He had All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel pitch to Pujols, and the nine-time All-Star delivered a broken-bat RBI single with the bases loaded to give the Los Angeles Angels a 4-3 victory on Monday night.
''I've been in that situation before, and it's not rocket science. If I was the manager, I would have done the same thing,'' Pujols said. ''As a hitter in that situation, the last thing you want to do is get caught up in that because it's just part of the game. You have to understand that you've got one of the best hitters in the game right now hitting in front of you, so it doesn't make any sense to let the best guy on the team beat you.''
Kevin Quackenbush (1-1) gave up a one-out walk to Marc Krauss and No. 9 hitter Johnny Giavotella followed with a single up the middle that sent pinch-runner Collin Cowgill to third.
Kimbrel came in and struck out Erick Aybar, setting the stage for Black's moment of decision, and Pujols slapped a 1-0 pitch through the left side of the infield to end it.
''One thing I learned as a young player was that you never put your head down and get down on yourself, because you might be the guy to come up and win the game,'' said Pujols, who spent his first 11 big league seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Joe Smith (1-1) pitched two innings for the victory.
Jered Weaver gave up a run and six hits in 6 2-3 innings after winning his previous three starts. The 10-year veteran, who won 18 games last season to help the Angels take their sixth AL West title under manager Mike Scioscia, was pulled after 104 pitches with a 3-0 lead.
The lead was promptly squandered by rookie Jose Alvarez.
The 26-year-old left-hander failed to retire any of the three batters he faced, giving up a walk to pinch-hitter Jedd Gyorko, an RBI double to Yangervis Solarte and a tying two-run single to Will Venable that got Tyson Ross off the hook.
''I told Mike that I was still good, but that I was comfortable if he wanted to go to the bullpen,'' Weaver said. ''It's a tough call. They had a couple of lefties coming up there, and I was confident with Alvarez coming in. Obviously, it didn't work out, but we pulled out the win, so that's all that matters.''
Prior to his at-bat, Solarte was 7 for 16 with runners in scoring position and two out.
Ross allowed three runs and 10 hits over six innings and struck out seven as the Padres opened the second leg of their Southern California road trip.
Ross struck out four of his first five batters before giving up a two-out double to Matt Joyce, who advanced on Derek Norris' passed ball and scored when rookie Carlos Perez beat out an infield single up the middle.'
''The fastball command left him at times, but I thought the slider was outstanding,'' Black said of Ross. ''They rolled some balls through, but he made a couple of nice pitches to keep it from getting worse.
The Angels kept the heat on Ross in the fifth, putting runners at second and third with none out. The right-hander fanned Pujols and retired David Freese on a popup after an intentional walk to Calhoun, but threw a wild pitch that allowed Aybar to score and make it 3-0.
San Diego's Abraham Almonte robbed Trout of an RBI double - and possibly a triple - in the third with a sprinting, lunging snow-cone catch in the right field corner.
Padres: CF Wil Myers is scheduled to have another scan done on his left wrist in San Diego on Tuesday, the day he was eligible to come off the disabled list. He has been sidelined since May 11 because of tendinitis. ''He's doing a lot of strengthening exercises and he's encouraged by how he feels. But right now, there's no timetable,'' manager Bud Black said. ... RHP Josh Johnson, who underwent Tommy John surgery early last season, has stopped throwing because of what Black described as a ''nerve situation'' in his neck.
Angels: LF Collin Cowgill wasn't in the starting lineup for the second straight game because of pain in his right hand. He pinch-ran for Krauss in the ninth.
Padres: Odrisamer Despaigne (2-3) has lost his last three starts, allowing 17 runs and 26 hits over 14 innings. The Padres were outscored 24-0 in those games by the Diamondbacks (11-0), Nationals (10-0) and Cubs (3-0).
Angels: Matt Shoemaker (3-4) has lost four of his last five decisions, and is coming off an 8-4 loss at Toronto in which he allowed eight runs in six innings. This will be his first career start against San Diego