Angels 7, Orioles 4
Saunders pitched well again in an emergency start for the ailing Bartolo Colon, Mike Napoli hit a two-run homer after watching one get taken away from teammate Erick Aybar, and the Angels beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-4 on Saturday night.
After the game the AL West leaders announced that Saunders (3-0) would be optioned back to Triple-A Salt Lake to make room for left fielder Garret Anderson, who was to be activated from the disabled list Sunday. Anderson worked out Saturday at Angel Stadium after a three-game minor league rehab stint with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Saunders allowed two runs and four hits in six innings, striking out none and walking three. It was the left-hander’s first start in the majors since April 20 in Anaheim, when he pitched six scoreless innings in an 8-4 victory against Seattle.
Saunders was optioned to Salt Lake the following day when Colon came off the disabled list.
“It’s a little easier this time,” Saunders said. “It caught me by surprise last time, but it’s just one of those business decisions. It’s disappointing every time when they send you right back down. So when you get the chance to pitch up here, you try to make the most of it. I know it’s a business and I know my place, so I’ll be ready at any point in the season. And whenever they want me, they can come get me.”
Steve Trachsel (4-4) threw 67 pitches over three innings, allowing five runs, five hits and four walks in his shortest outing with the Orioles. Last Monday, the right-hander needed just 104 pitches in a complete-game victory at Kansas City. This was only the second time in 12 starts this season that Trachsel allowed more than three earned runs—and just the sixth time in his last 32 outings.
“My location wasn’t real good and I was pitching behind in the count from the start of the game,” Trachsel said. “You have four or five of these a year where you don’t feel good and you try to battle through it. But I wasn’t able to do it. It wasn’t mechanics at all. I just wasn’t sharp.”
Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis made the defensive play of the game in the third inning, leaping over the short fence in the right field corner and into the first row of seats to rob Aybar of what would have been his first major league home run.
“He put a good swing on it, and it surprised me because I had him played the other way,” Markakis said. “I was just trying to get back to the spot and get under it. It felt great.”
But two pitches later, all Markakis could do was watch as Napoli drove Trachsel’s fastball over the wall in right-center with a man on to give the Angels a 5-2 lead.
Scott Williamson relieved Trachsel, giving up a sacrifice fly in the fourth to Orlando Cabrera and an RBI single in the fifth to Chone Figgins—who is 8-for-11 in three games after sitting out the previous two because of a prolonged slump.
Baltimore opened the scoring with Hernandez’s double. But the Angels responded with three in the bottom half against Trachsel, who needed 37 pitches to get out of the inning after retiring the side in order in the first. He minimized the damage by getting Vladimir Guerrero to fly out with the bases loaded.
The last time Trachsel faced the Angels was June 15, 2003, when he beat them 8-0 with the second of his three career one-hitters. … It was the second time this season that Mora was hit by a pitch and the 87th time with the Orioles, second-most in franchise history behind Brady Anderson (148). … RHP Danys Baez, who was demoted from setup man to middle relief, has pitched a scoreless inning in each of his two appearances during this series. He has allowed only two earned runs in 18 career innings against the Angels.