Haren throws 7-1/3 innings, Walden holds on in Angels' 1-0 win over Nationals
Taking full advantage of the shadows of a 4 p.m. start, Dan Haren gave up two hits in 7-1/3 innings Wednesday to lead the Angels to a 1-0 victory and a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals in Angel Stadium.
Haren, who gave up nine runs and 17 hits in 10 innings of his previous two starts, a loss to the New York Mets and a win over the Dodgers, retired the first 10 batters before Brian Bixler dropped a bunt to third base with one out in the fourth inning.
Alberto Callaspo charged and scooped the ball with his bare hand, but his throw, which if accurate would have beat Bixler by several feet, sailed wide of first base and into foul territory, allowing Bixler to reach second base.
Official scorer Ed Munson ruled it a single and an error, though the play could have easily been scored an error.
But catcher Ivan Rodriguez removed the controversy of the call with a clean single to center field with one out in the eighth inning, a hit that knocked Haren out of the game with a pitch count of 120.
Scott Downs came on and struck out pinch-hitter Jayson Werth looking and to got Roger Bernadina to pop out to third base to end the inning.
Closer Jordan Walden, who had blown saves in his previous three opportunities, gave up a one-out double to Ryan Zimmerman in the ninth inning, but he got Matt Stairs to ground out to first base and struck out Michael Morse with a 98-mph fastball for his 18th save.
An error by Zimmerman, the third baseman who made several awkward-looking throws in the series, led to the only run.
Bobby Abreu led off the fourth inning with a walk, and Vernon Wells hit a slow roller to third base. Zimmerman fielded the ball, but his off-balance throw to second base went into right field, allowing Abreu to reach third base.
Abreu scored an unearned run on Howie Kendrick’s double-play grounder to shortstop.
-- Mike DiGiovanna
Photo: Angels starter Dan Haren receives a standing ovation from the home crowd as he leaves the game during the eighth inning of the Angels' 1-0 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.