Anaheim, CA – Alberto Callaspo singled in the game-winning run in the ninth inning, as the Angels continued their hot stretch with a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers in the opener of a three-game series.
Kendrys Morales fell a homer short of the cycle, and his one-out single in the ninth started the game-winning rally against Octavio Dotel (5-3). The fleet- footed Peter Bourjos was sent in as a pinch-runner for Morales and moved to second when Erick Aybar legged out an infield hit with two away.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia opted to pinch-hit Callaspo for Mark Trumbo, who is mired in an 0-for-15 slump. The maneuver paid off, as Callaspo dribbled one through the left side and past the glove of a charging Andy Dirks in left field to knock in Bourjos without a play at the plate.
"It was a fastball away, and I tried to put the ball in play," Callaspo said of his game-winning hit.
The Angels have won nine of 10, while the Tigers have dropped three of four overall. The clubs trail the Orioles in the AL wild card race by two and 3 1/2 games, respectively.
Detroit is still one game behind the Central-leading White Sox.
Ernesto Frieri (3-0) stranded a runner in scoring position in the ninth to earn the victory behind Ervin Santana, who tied a season high with 10 strikeouts and walked just one in 6 2/3 innings. Santana allowed four hits and two runs via solo homers by Prince Fielder and Alex Avila.
Max Scherzer was also effective in a no-decision, allowing two runs on only five hits while striking out nine over eight innings.
"Max was terrific. He pitched a whale of a game," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of his starter.
The Angels scored twice in their first at-bat, ending Scherzer's 14-inning scoreless streak. Mike Trout led off with a double and came around on Torii Hunter's dribbler up the middle, and a Howie Kendrick groundout with runners on second and third brought in another run later in the frame.
Fielder led off the second by golfing one over the wall in right, and Avila cleared the high scoreboard in right-center field leading off the next inning.
The Angels' Albert Pujols went 0-for-4 to snap a 14-game hitting streak ... With his sixth strikeout, Scherzer helped the Tigers set a franchise record with their 1,116th punchout of the season. Both the 1968 and 2011 teams held the mark of 1,115 strikeouts ... Scherzer has struck out eight or more batters in 10 straight outings ... Detroit was opening a 10-game road trip.