ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It's not the kind of pitching that will draw oohs and aahs from the fans, the type where the pitcher rares back and throws the ball as hard as he can, daring the hitter to catch up to it. No, what Jason Vargas did Friday night is called "pitch to contact," and it can be just as effective when the batted balls find gloves.
Vargas (1-3) threw a three-hit shutout to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a 4-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Angel Stadium. Of his 27 outs, 24 were put in play. Vargas struck out three while getting 15 ground ball outs and nine flyouts. It was the fourth shutout of Vargas' career, the last one coming in 2011 while with the Mariners.
Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout provided the muscle, each hitting a home run for the Angels, who had eight hits. Trumbo hit a leadoff homer in the second inning and Trout had a two-run homer in the fifth, both off losing pitcher Miguel Gonzalez (2-2). Trout added an RBI single in the seventh.
Vargas' performance was one in the making. He had pitched well in his last start, holding the Mariners to two runs in eight innings, but he was stuck with a 2-1 loss. This time, he didn't leave anything to chance, and got plenty of support from his defense.
"I take more satisfaction in the way we played the game and the way we were able to be so efficient out there without giving them an opportunity to put together a big inning," said Vargas, who threw 107 pitches. "The plays we made out there, early, late, in the middle of the game, really set us up for success."
In fact, Vargas said, he didn't feel any better, necessarily after Friday's game than he did for his other starts.
"There wasn't anything different in the bullpen (warming up). It was just one of those games when the balls that they hit hard happened to go at people, we made great plays and were able to get out of innings pretty efficiently."
Other than the two home runs he allowed, Gonzalez pitched well. He gave up three runs and six hits in six innings and only made 80 pitches, but a deep blister on the right thumb of his pitching hand forced him out of the game. His next start is questionable.
"He pitched well but not as well as their guy," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's too bad he had to come out with a blister. It's just part of pitching."
The Angels took a 1-0 lead when Trumbo led off the bottom of the second inning with his team-leading seventh home run of the season, a laser to left-center field. The scored stayed that way until the fifth when Trout got a hold of a pitch from Gonzalez and hit it over the fence in center field for a two-run homer and 3-0 Angels lead.
Vargas took it from there.
"Jason was spectacular," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That team over there has a tough lineup, they have power all the way through and their swinging the bats well. It gives us a big lift to have a complete-game shutout and come away with a win.
"He's throwing more strikes and he's not letting counts get as deep. And when he has a chance to put hitters away, he's making a pitch."
NOTES: Orioles first baseman Chris Davis had to leave Friday's game against the Angels in the fifth inning after hurting his right knee running out a groundout. He's schedule to have an MRI exam Saturday. ... Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo returned to the starting lineup Friday for the first time since he strained his right calf on April 11. In Callaspo's absence, the Angels used Luis Jimenez (17 starts) and Brendan Harris (two starts) in his place. Infielder Andrew Romine was optioned to Class AAA Salt Lake to make room for Callaspo on the roster. ... Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton started Friday's game as the designated hitter, just to have a day off from playing in the field. It was Hamilton's third start at DH this year; in the first two, he went 3-for-8 with no extra-base hits or RBIs. ... Orioles left fielder Nate McLouth was not in the starting lineup Friday against the Angels because the Angels started the left-handed Vargas. McLouth is hitting .182 (2-for-11) against lefties this season. Outfielder/designated hitter Nolan Reimold started in place of McLouth. It was Reimold's ninth start in left field, and his first start as the leadoff hitter. ... Orioles RHP Jim Johnson began the day Friday having converted 32 consecutive save opportunities dating back to July 30, 2012. It is the second longest streak in Orioles history -- Randy Myers saved 34 in a row in 1997.