Dan Haren pitches Angels past Rays, 5-1
Right-hander Dan Haren found a way around the Angels' bullpen problems Wednesday, pitching well enough to keep most of the team's relievers on the bench during a 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
Haren scattered four hits over 7 2/3 innings, striking out six and not issuing a walk. In two starts and 14 2/3 innings this season, Haren has yet to walk a batter.
Kevin Jepsen came on to get the final out in the eighth, retiring pinch-hitter Manny Ramirez on a fly ball to right. Ramirez is 1 for 17 this season. Rookie Jordan Walden, the Angels' newly minted closer, then came on to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth.
The Angels had trouble finding the ball against Rays' starter Jeremy Hellickson, who set a career high with 10 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings, twice striking out the side. But when they did hit the right-hander they hit him hard, with three of their first five hits going for extra bases.
The first was first-inning hit-and-run double by Bobby Abreu that scored Howie Kendrick from first and the second was Alberto Callaspo's solo home with two out in the fourth, a blast that landed halfway up the bleachers in right-center field. Callaspo hit a ball even harder in his next at-bat in the sixth, but it hooked just foul down the right-field line.
The Angels wound up scoring in that inning anyway when Mark Trumbo singled with two out, stole second then came home when Jeff Mathis doubled off the glove of right fielder Matt Joyce. They scored again in the eighth on an RBI single by Trumbo -- who had the first three-hit game of his career -- and in the ninth on a run-scoring single by Torii Hunter.
Haren, meanwhile, was outstanding, retiring the first eight Rays in order before giving up Sam Fuld's ground-ball single to center. Haren then retired the next four batters in order before B.J. Upton lined a homer to left leading off the fifth.
With the win the Angels go into Friday's home opener at Angel Stadium 3-3 on the season. The loss drops the Rays to 0-5 for the first time in franchise history. And in four of those games Tampa Bay has been held to one run and four hits.
-- Kevin Baxter in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Photo: Dan Haren. Credit: Kim Klement / Associated Press