The Los Angeles Angels certainly are glad to have their best power hitter back in the lineup.
Guerrero missed four games because of an inflamed right triceps, but returned to the Angels’ lineup Tuesday as the designated hitter and homered twice in the 10-5 win. He leads the Angels with 24 homers and 114 RBIs.
The Angels (85-59) won their fifth straight road game and their fifth in eight contests overall.
“Any time one the best players in baseball is back in your lineup, it makes you better as a team,” said teammate Reggie Willits, who went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI.
Guerrero has 24 RBIs in his last 24 games and has hit safely in 19 of his last 21. He’s also batting .351 with 15 homers and 44 RBIs in 45 career games against the Orioles (61-82) and needs one homer to reach 25 for the 10th straight season.
“With Guerrero, he’s such a great hitter, I think you’re probably better off making him hit pitches out of the strike zone than you are throwing him pitches in the strike zone,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “The guy’s a great bad ball hitter to begin with. I think you’re complicating the matter even more when you throw the ball in the middle of the plate to him.”
However, Los Angeles lost another key player Tuesday as center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. sprained his right ankle. X-rays were negative, but the team said that Matthews, who is hitting .257 with 18 homers and 17 stolen bases, will miss at least five games.
“It’s part of baseball. Guys are going to get nicked up,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who team also played without infielder Maicer Izturis because of a sore right foot. “We’re getting down here to crunch time, it’s not an opportune time.
Chone Figgins went 3-for-4, and is 19-for-32 (.594) against the Orioles this season. Los Angeles has won 11 of the last 14 from the Orioles.
Baltimore lost for the 17th time in 20 games overall, while being outscored 178-90. The defeat also ensured the Orioles their 10th straight losing season.
Tuesday’s starter for Baltimore, Daniel Cabrera (9-15, 5.11 ERA), was ejected in the fourth inning of his last start on Friday. He threw behind the ear of Boston’s Dustin Pedroia immediately after balking in a run, and was tossed after waving his arms at the Red Sox bench, apparently to provoke them.
The following day, Trembley met with Cabrera and told him his actions “uncalled for, unprofessional, no need to do it.”
Cabrera gave up three runs and before he was tossed in his shortest start since April 7, 2006. He was charged with the 4-0 loss, falling to 0-3 with a 6.53 ERA over his last four starts.
Cabrera is 2-2 with a 5.02 ERA in five career starts against the Angels.
Los Angeles counters with Kelvim Escobar (16-7, 3.04), who is trying for his 100th career win. He is 5-1 with a 4.08 ERA over his last six starts and gave up three runs in 5 2-3 innings of Thursday’s 10-3 win over Cleveland.
Escobar has more wins against the Orioles than any other opponent, going 12-5 with a 4.19 ERA in 35 career appearances against them, including 19 starts. He has struggled against Baltimore this season, though, going 0-1 with an 8.76 ERA in two starts.