Hunter’s HR Helps Angels’ Snap 5-Game Losing Streak
CLEVELAND (AP) Dan Haren pitched eight strong innings for Los Angeles though Albert Pujols remained homerless as the Angels defeated the Cleveland Indians 2-1 on Saturday.
Torii Hunter hit a solo homer for Los Angeles, which snapped a five-game losing streak after a cold drizzle delayed the start of the game 147 minutes.
Pujols went 1 for 4 with his single during a first-inning rally giving the Angels a 1-0 lead off Jeanmar Gomez (1-1).
Hunter’s homer in the fourth made it 2-0. The Angels have hit only five homers in their last 104 innings.
Haren (1-1) made the lead stand up. The right-hander allowed four hits and struck out seven.
Jack Hannahan’s two-out RBI single got Cleveland within 2-1 in the fourth.
Scott Downs worked a perfect ninth for his first save.
It was only Downs’ second save in the last three seasons and the Angels’ second in eight chances this year as Los Angeles improved to 1-6 in one-run games.
The left-handed Downs was put into the closer’s role in place of young right-hander Jordan Walden on Friday by manager Mike Scioscia.
Pujols still hasn’t gone deep in an Angels uniform, a streak of 21 games and 84 at-bats. He has not connected since Sept. 22, an overall stretch of 113 at-bats, and remains stuck at 445 career homers.
The first baseman did hit five homers in the 2011 postseason, including three in the World Series, to help the St. Louis Cardinals win it all. He then signed a $240 million, 10-year contract as a free agent with the Angels.
The Indians have a team-wide power drought. They haven’t hit a homer in 10 games, their longest streak in nearly 30 years. Cleveland went 14 games without a homer from April 10-22, 1983.
In the Angels’ first inning, Howie Kendrick drew a one-out walk, took third on Pujols’ hit and scored on a single by Kendrys Morales that bounced just beyond the reach of two infielders for a 1-0 lead.
Gomez struck out a career-high seven over six innings. The right-hander gave up five hits, two runs and two walks.
Notes: Angels RHP Ervin Santana is scheduled to start Sunday – his first appearance against Cleveland since pitching a no-hitter at Progressive Field on July 27. … Cleveland has 99 walks, most in the majors. … Hunter’s homer left him four runs shy of 1,000 for his career. … Pujols needs two runs for 1,300. … The Angels have used 19 different lineups in 21 games. … The poor weather kept Indians OF Shin-Soo Choo from testing his strained left hamstring in pregame workouts. Choo has not played since the eighth inning Tuesday.