BALTIMORE: The Los Angeles Angels are playing their best baseball in months, but their outlook has not cleared. Just as they were tying up their fourth consecutive win Friday night (Saturday in Manila) at Camden Yards they received the news that their hottest hitter, first baseman C.J. Cron, suffered a broken hand when he was hit by a pitch in Friday’s sixth inning.
Cron will see a hand specialist Monday but should go on the disabled list before that. The news tarnished what was otherwise another encouraging day for the team. They beat Baltimore, 9-5, after hammering Baltimore Orioles spot starter Ubaldo Jimenez.
In the first inning, Kole Calhoun worked a one-out walk, and then Mike Trout and Albert Pujols knocked consecutive singles to bring in the game’s first run. Cron grounded out to score another run.
They quickly tacked on three in the second, forcing Jimenez out to a chorus of boos.
Matt Shoemaker began the game with a 91-mph fastball down the middle, and Adam Jones squared it up. The ball traveled 429 feet to straightaway center for a solo home run.
Two batters later, Manny Machado lifted a ball 369 feet to left field, but Angels left fielder Daniel Nava leaped up to secure it.
Baltimore reliever Mike Wright hit Cron with a pitch in the third inning, and then Johnny Giavotella two batters later. Both stayed in the game.
Later in the third, Yunel Escobar mishandled a J.J. Hardy grounder and then threw it away, bringing his error total to 13 this season. No one in the American League has more.
In the top of the next inning, Hardy returned the favor botching back-to-back consecutive grounders from Trout and Pujols, allowing the Angels to add two runs. They scored once more in the sixth, helped by another Cron plunking. Initially, he stayed in the game, but exited once he reached second base.
In the bottom of that inning, when Cam Bedrosian relieved Shoemaker, he nailed Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop in the helmet with a 94-mph fastball. The ball caromed dozens of rows into the stands, and home-plate umpire Mike Everitt issued warnings to both teams.
Shoemaker lasted five innings and yielded three runs. Bedrosian and JC Ramirez pitched scoreless innings in relief. In the ninth, Deolis Guerra stumbled for the first time in his last seven appearances, issuing his first walk of the season and then allowing a monstrous home run to ex-Angel Mark Trumbo.
The Angels removed Ji-Man Choi from their triple-A affiliate’s game just before they announced Cron’s injury. He is the next first baseman on their depth chart. He played sparingly during a monthlong season-opening stint with the team, but has impressed the organization in everyday play in the minors.