Aybar leads Angels to 11-2 rout of Orioles
Aybar went 4 for 4, homered twice and tied a franchise record by scoring five runs, leading Los Angeles to an 11-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.
Aybar’s effort provided the Angels a welcome boost in their frantic pursuit of a postseason berth. Los Angeles, which began the day 4 1/2 games in back of division-leading Texas, closed within four games behind Boston in the wild-card hunt.
“A very important win,” Aybar said through an interpreter. “I felt great being able to contribute to what was really a team effort. Eleven runs wasn’t just all my runs, so I feel good about that.”
The victory enabled the Angels to avert a three-game sweep against the last-place Orioles, who won the first two by a collective 14-5 score.
“Everybody felt the need, not just me,” Aybar said. “We lost two games in a row and we felt this was a game to win. We need to keep winning.”
It was the first career multihomer game for Aybar, who hit a solo shot in the third inning and a two-run drive in the fourth. His four hits tied a career high, as did his four RBIs.
His five runs matched the club record set by Tim Salmon on April 12, 1998, at Cleveland.
“When he’s on, he brings a very consistent approach whether he hits with no one on or he hits with someone in scoring position,” manager Mike Scioscia said of Aybar. “He usually puts the ball in play. That’s rule No. 1 when you’re a little guy and not expected to hit home runs.”
Vernon Wells(notes) also connected for the Angels, who next play a four-game series in Toronto, their final destination on the road this season. Baltimore travels to Boston for four games, beginning with a day-night doubleheader on Monday.
Pitching on three days’ rest, Weaver (18-7) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. He is 12-3 since the beginning of June, and his 18 wins are two more than his previous career high.
“That’s why he’s one of the best pitchers in the game right now,” said Baltimore catcher Craig Tatum(notes), who went 0 for 3. “He showed he can come back off three days’ rest and still be good. His ball moves, he locates, he keeps the ball down. He just didn’t give us much to hit.”
Vladimir Guerrero(notes) homered, tripled and had two RBIs for the Orioles, whose four-game winning streak ended. It was the 449th career home run for Guerrero, tied with Jeff Bagwell for 35th place on the career list.
Aybar opened the game by drawing a four-pitch walk and scored on a double by Bobby Abreu(notes). Later in the inning, Simon hit Mark Trumbo(notes) with a pitch, prompting home plate umpire Laz Diaz to issue a warning to both sides.
And Simon didn’t deny doing likewise.
“We just got hit yesterday and I’m going to defend my players,” he said. “We just got hit hard and that’s what happens in the game.”
Aybar put the Angels up 2-1 in the third with his ninth homer, and Wells hit No. 22 with a man on in the fourth. Three batters later, Aybar drove a pitch over the right-field wall.
NOTES: Eight of the Angels’ 15 hits were for extra bases. … Jerome Williams(notes) (3-0) will start Monday for the Angels, who are 7-4 in their last 11 games in Toronto. … Jeremy Guthrie(notes) (8-17) and Brian Matusz(notes) (1-7, 9.84 ERA) will start for Baltimore on Monday. … It was Abreu’s 30th double, the 12th time in his career he’s reached that mark.