Initially a starter at the beginning of his Angels’ career, Barría moved to the bullpen last season. But in the middle of May, he was put into a swing starter-reliever role out of necessity because José Suarez was on the injured list.
“I feel good. I’ve had confidence since the first time,” Barría said in Spanish after the game.
“I think we go in and try to win these games, like [Anthony] Rendon said in an interview, if we win 15 or 16 or 17 games [a month] ... I think we will be in contention.”
Barría pitched five innings, giving up two earned runs, three hits and one walk with three strikeouts in 76 pitches, 50 for strikes, as the Angels clinched the series.
“You just sit back and he throws a lot of strikes,” manager Phil Nevin said of Barría.
“Every one of our pitchers should focus in when he’s on the mound. It’s just impressive.”
Both runs for the Cubs came in the top of the fifth inning, the Angels temporarily losing a one-run lead courtesy of Mike Trout’s solo home run in the fourth.
It was Trout’s 14th home run of the season.
Barría left the game in the fifth, but the Angels tied the score in the bottom of the inning on Luis Rengifo’s solo home run.
The Angels then put together a four-run sixth inning against the Cubs as Rengifo (two-run single) and Mickey Moniak (two-run double) gave them a 6-2 lead. Relievers Ben Joyce, Aaron Loup and Sam Bachman combined to keep the Cubs scoreless over the last four innings.
Rengifo has been seeing better results, which he attributed to a positive mindset and being aggressive. Both of his hits Wednesday came on the first pitch.
“Every single time you go out there, you have to do your job,” Rengifo said.
“And today, I hit the first pitches and I was good for it.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.