Figgins hurt his right hamstring while scoring an insurance run in the eighth inning and had to leave the game. In the clubhouse afterwards, the concern was for Figgins. The Angels’ all-purpose infielder and leadoff hitter underwent an MRI and wasn’t available for comment.
“He said he cramped up a little bit, and there’s a little knot in there. We’ll just see how it is tomorrow,” manager Mike Scioscia said.
Only four Orioles reached base against Garland (4-3), who retired 18 of his last 19 batters and had one walk and one strikeout, both in the first inning.
It was the first time Garland got through the seventh since his Angels debut on April 1, when the right-hander went eight innings in a 9-1 win at Minnesota.
“I don’t know if I have it back. I mean, you can’t really go off of that,” Garland said after lowering his ERA from 5.94 to 4.96. “But I’m going to work hard in my next bullpen session and try to get ready for the next one and see if I can keep it right there and keep throwing strikes.”
Garland had allowed 16 earned runs over 17 1-3 innings in his three previous home starts this season.
“There was a little adjustment, and it worked out for the best,” he said. “Today I was getting ahead of guys, throwing more strikes and using my pitches a lot better. I was making them swing at the pitches I wanted them to swing at, rather than have to come into the zone and giving them something good to hit.”
Pitching coach Mike Butcher noticed some obvious flaws in Garland’s outing Monday, when he surrendered seven runs and 10 hits in six-plus innings against Oakland. So he gave the pitcher a DVD of his complete-game victory over the Angels in Game 3 of the 2005 AL championship series with the Chicago White Sox to study.
“I watched it and kind of let it sink into my brain,” Garland said. “It was like night and day. I worked on it into the bullpen session today, and I was able to carry into the game.
“Before I was opening up early in my delivery, pretty much showing every hitter what was coming. But now I’m turning the left shoulder in a little bit more, which is keeping me back. And as you can see by the result, all the pitches were down. Nothing was really up today unless I wanted it to be.”
Los Angeles pulled ahead 2-1 with a pair of runs in the seventh against Daniel Cabrera (2-1). The right-hander plunked No. 9 hitter Brandon Wood on the shoulder with one out, then walked Figgins before giving up an RBI single by Reggie Willits. Matthews followed with a sacrifice fly.
“Last night and tonight, walks factored into them scoring runs,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “You have to keep Figgins off. He’s the catalyst that makes it go for them.”
Matthews started in right field for the Angels in place of Vladimir Guerrero, who was given the day off by Scioscia. Guerrero is in an 0-for-15 drought, the first time in his career that the eight-time All-Star and 2004 AL MVP has gone hitless in five consecutive games. He has one homer in his last 20 contests.
Aubrey Huff led off the Orioles second inning with a single and scored from second on a two-out RBI single by Luke Scott, who entered the game in a 3-for-33 rut. Those were the only hits Garland allowed until the seventh, when Melvin Mora doubled with one out to end a string of 13 consecutive batters retired by the right-hander.
“The way Garland was pitching, it looked like our best hope was to win the game 1-0,” Trembley said. “He changed speeds real good and kept the ball down. And he was helped by good defense. We needed a two-out hit, and the balls we did hit hard they caught.”
Cabrera allowed three runs and six hits over 7 1-3 innings, striking out six and walking two.
“He’s a good pitcher, he throws the ball pretty hard and he’s got that good sinking movement going down and away from left-handers,” Willits said.
: Mild-mannered Garret Anderson was ejected for only the third time in his 15-year career. He took a called third strike at the knees in the seventh, then flipped the bat end-over-end in disgust before umpire Paul Emmel tossed him. … Matthews has started seven games in right field, five in center and 13 in left. The Angels are 7-0 when he starts in right. … Cabrera came in with a 6.55 career ERA against the Angels. Two of his major league-worst 18 losses last season were against the Halos, as he gave up 11 earned runs in 11 innings.