It has been weeks since the LA Angels of Anaheim have enjoyed back-to-back victories and that's not about to change on Sunday as the team hosts the Baltimore Orioles in the finale of a four-game set.
On Saturday the Angels came close to posting their second win in as many outings, but the squad was instead downed in extra innings, 5-4, by the visitors. Losers of six of their last eight games, the Angels are ahead of only a dreadful Houston club in the American League West standings, already eight games out of contention.
On Saturday, Los Angeles fell behind early but managed to rally with a pair of runs in both the seventh and eighth innings before being taken out. Suffering the late loss was Garrett Richards, who permitted one run in the top of the 10th inning. Starter Tommy Hanson surrendered three runs on seven hits -- two home runs -- and a couple of walks over five innings.
"I'm not happy with the way I performed today," Hanson said. "I know it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good as well, and at the end of the day we lost the game. I want to go out there and help this team win, and when we don't win, I'm not happy."
Mark Trumbo gave the Angels a lift with his eighth home run of the campaign, plating a pair, but still Albert Pujols (.237) continued to struggle with a pair of strikeouts and the slumping Josh Hamilton was held out of the game until being used as a pinch-hitter in the bottom half of the 10th when he flied out to left.
Taking over the spotlight for the Angels was Freddy Garcia, who in his first start of 2013 took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning. However, Garcia failed to factor into the decision as he gave up two runs on three hits and a walk before exiting. Instead, it was Tommy Hunter who was credited with his first victory of the season, while Jim Johnson collected his 11th save.
Steve Pearce, who started the season 0-for-17 and got the start due to an injury to Chris Davis, knocked in Nolan Reimold with two outs for the game- winning run. Pearce finished with three hits. Reimold, J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado each hit home runs for the Orioles, who are now third in the AL East, 2 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox.
"I didn't want to be the hero with the homer," Pearce said of his extra-inning hit. "I just wanted to get good wood on it. Something away, I could see the ball a little deep and hit the ball to the right side. I feel like I've been jumpy the last couple days."
Already halfway to his entire win total from all of last season, Jason Hammel takes the hill for the Orioles this afternoon in search of his fifth victory. The right-hander, who was 8-6 a year ago with Baltimore, is already 4-1 in six appearances in 2013.
The South Carolina native last pitched on Tuesday versus Seattle, giving up just two runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out five over the course of five innings in a 7-2 triumph.
As well as he has thrown thus far, Hammel hasn't had any prior success against the Angels in his career, sporting a 0-3 record with a lofty 7.02 ERA in four all-time appearances.
Needing five more strikeouts to reach 400 for his career, Jerome Williams is set to counter for the Angels today. Primarily a reliever who has been inserted into the starting rotation, the right-hander last pitched on Monday against Oakland on the road but still failed to secure a decision.
In that matchup, Williams lasted six innings, allowing one unearned run on four hits and a couple of walks, fanning two, in a 10-8 setback.
While Williams has just one win to show for his efforts this season, in his career he has a 3-0 mark with a 3.00 ERA in as many outings versus Baltimore.
The Angels dominated this series the previous two seasons, posting a 13-5 record against Baltimore.