Angels 9, Cardinals 3
ST. LOUIS (AP)—Chone Figgins credits his offensive onslaught to luck.
“How much do we talk about luck,” he said. “It’s just finding holes.”
Figgins is batting .525 (21-for-40) during the streak. He also stole two bases, after swiping a career-high best three against the Cardinals on Friday.
The Angels got a strong outing from starter Ervin Santana (5-6) who had failed to win on the road in six previous starts. He did not allow a base runner until Albert Pujols reached on a four-pitch walk with two outs in the fourth inning. Jim Edmonds followed with the Cardinals’ first hit of the game, doubling down the right field line.
He also started a four-run fourth inning with a two-run double, his second career hit.
Santana used 115 pitches to get through six innings. He gave up three runs and six hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
“I like him pitching,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “The double was nice, but I like Erwin throwing the ball well. He got into good zones early. He got a little fuzzy his last couple innings, but for the most part his stuff was very good.”
Scioscia said consistently getting one of the first two batters on base has helped his team get off to its best start in history. The Angels became the first team to reach 40 wins this season.
Nobody has been more consistent than Figgins. He reached base seven times in the first two games against the Cardinals, scored three runs and driven in two. He was hitting .133 before his current hitting streak started and now stands at .254.
“I don’t think there’s a guy who has made as big a turn around in his last 50 at-bats as Figgies has,” Scioscia said.
His four hits Saturday were a season best and his two stolen bases give him 10 in the past nine games.
Pressed repeatedly about the turn around, Figgins downplayed it.
“There’s no difference,” he said. “I was hitting the ball hard before and wasn’t finding the holes. Now, I’m finding some holes. It’s as simple as that.”
The Angels broke the game open with four hits and two walks in the fourth. Santana’s one-out double down the left-field line scored Casey Kotchman and Howie Kendrick to give Los Angeles a 4-0 lead. It was Santana’s first two career RBIs.
Figgins’ run-scoring single and Orlando Cabrera’s sacrifice fly brought in Santana to give Los Angeles a 6-0 lead.
Braden Looper (6-5) lost for the third time in four decisions. He gave up 11 hits and three walks over six innings.
“I know if I was able to control my sinker and my fastball, it would have been a different game,” Looper said.
St. Louis got their three runs with home runs. Juan Encarnancion extended his hitting streak to 10 with a solo shot in the fourth and Jim Edmonds hit a two-run homer to pull the Cardinals to within 6-3.
“I’m sure they don’t think we’re very good,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “They haven’t seen much from us.”
Anderson left the game with tightness in his right leg. He went on the 15-day disabled list because of a tear in his right hip flexor tendon May 4. He returned to the lineup on June 3 and was 7-for-24 before leaving the game Saturday. Anderson said the injury was in the same area as his previous injury but was nothing serious. He expects to sit out Sunday’s game.
Kotchman was hit with a pitch in the sixth and left the game before the bottom of the inning with a right elbow contusion. X-rays were negative and his status is listed as day-to-day. …Cardinals 3B Scott Rolen went 1-for-4 and is one hit shy of 1,500 for his career. …Rolen had six attempts in the field and is without an error in 133 tries this season. His last error came Sept. 27 against San Diego.