Published November 20, 2014
With all that speed in center, Peter Bourjos looked as if he was born to play at Citi Field.
Bourjos hit a tiebreaking double and turned in a sensational catch to help Joel Pineiro nail down his 100th career win at last in the Los Angeles Angels' 4-3 victory over the New York Mets on Friday night.
"He went out and got a couple of 'em, that's for sure," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think it's the type of field that you can really see our outfield athleticism show up."
Playing under National League rules, the Angels left surging designated hitter Bobby Abreu on the bench in their first game at the Mets' spacious home and started their three fastest outfielders.
Bourjos and left fielder Vernon Wells tracked down some key drives in the vast gaps — and enjoyed every minute of it.
"I'd love to play here," Bourjos said. "A lot of room to cover and I enjoy that, just kind of being able to run, not having to really worry about walls and stuff, especially out in right-center. You're not going to hit a wall for a long time."
Admittedly nervous for his first game in New York, hard-throwing rookie Jordan Walden walked his first two batters in the ninth inning before striking out the next three to hold on.
Torii Hunter snapped a 2-for-23 slide with three hits, including an RBI single, while Maicer Izturis and Howie Kendrick each scored twice. The Angels, who had lost seven of 10, used some slick defense to improve to 27-10 in interleague road games since 2007 — the best mark in the majors.
Los Angeles has won 28 of its last 40 overall against National League teams.
Pineiro (3-3) had failed six times to earn win No. 100 since his previous victory May 10 against the Chicago White Sox. But he ran into the right opponent Friday, pitching 6 1-3 solid innings to up his record against the Mets to 4-0 with a shutout in seven career starts.
"I knew it was going to come," Pineiro said. "I didn't put too much pressure on myself."
The right-hander, who allowed two runs and six hits, shook off an early line drive to his leg and held nemesis Jose Reyes in check.
Reyes, who began the day leading the majors with a .348 average and 101 hits, entered 7 for 12 (.583) against Pineiro with a homer and a triple. But the speedy leadoff man went 0 for 4 with a ninth-inning walk.
Reyes stole second, but Walden recovered to preserve Pineiro's 100th win.
"I totally forgot until after the game," Walden said. "I was like, Oh my God, he probably had a heart attack."
Angel Pagan had a pair of RBI singles for the Mets, back home after a 6-4 road trip.
With the score tied 2-all, the Angels mounted a two-out rally against Chris Capuano (5-7) in the sixth.
Mark Trumbo reached on an infield single that was bobbled by Reyes at shortstop, putting two on. Bourjos grounded an RBI double that glanced off the glove of rookie third baseman Justin Turner, giving Los Angeles the lead.
"Those balls are coming back to kill us," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Bourjos helped preserve the edge in the bottom half with a leaping catch as he banged into the left-center fence to rob Ronny Paulino, who was leading off the inning. On the mound, Pineiro applauded in appreciation.
"I love taking hits away from people in the outfield," Bourjos said. "I think your team gets pumped up."
Hunter added a run-scoring single in the seventh off Bobby Parnell after Izturis led off with a double.
"We definitely got some clutch hits tonight and that was good to see," Scioscia said. "It's been missing in a lot of our baseball so far this season."
Paulino drove an RBI double to right-center — far out of Bourjos' reach — to cut it to 4-3 in the eighth. But a sharp grounder by Ruben Tejada was smothered by Trumbo at first, and Scott Downs struck out pinch-hitter Scott Hairston to end the inning.
Walden then earned his 16th save in 19 chances.
"First and second, no out, 3-4-5, three left-handed hitters, three good fastball hitters," Collins said. "It felt like we were going to do something."
After the start was delayed 33 minutes by rain, Kendrick doubled in the second and scored on a two-out error by Turner, who rushed a high throw with the speedy Bourjos racing up the line.
Daniel Murphy tripled to open the bottom half and Pagan followed with a tying single.
Wells, who began the night batting .193, ripped an RBI single off Reyes' glove in the third.
Moments later, Pineiro was hit behind his right knee by Carlos Beltran's line-drive single, drawing a groan from the crowd of 29,513 — and another when the replay was shown. Scioscia and a trainer came out to check on Pineiro, who threw two warmup pitches and stayed in the game.
Pagan's two-out single tied the score again.
"We all know Pineiro," Pagan said. "He's been around for a long time, and he knows how to make adjustments."
NOTES: Angels 3B Alberto Callaspo, sidelined since Saturday with a pulled left hamstring, worked out before the game and felt fine. The team hopes he'll be available off the bench this weekend, Scioscia said. ... Collins is in his first year as Mets manager. His previous big league managing job was with the Angels from 1997-99 before Scioscia took over in 2000.