The start of C.J. Wilson's tenure with the LA Angels of Anaheim didn't go quite as planned, but he has since righted the ship.
Wilson hopes to keep his current unbeaten streak intact tonight in the opener of a quick two-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
The former Texas Rangers ace jumped ship to the Angels in the offseason and was 2-3 though his first five decisions. Now Wilson is 4-0 with a 1.31 earned run average in his past six starts -- all Anaheim wins -- and benefited from great run support in his most recent appearance last Tuesday in a 12-5 win versus the San Francisco Giants.
Wilson was banged around for five runs, three of which were earned, and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings to boost his mark to 8-4 in 15 starts to go along with a 2.44 ERA. The left-hander, who hasn't tasted defeat since May 17, has lasted at least six innings during his unbeaten run and sports a 5-2 record in nine road appearances this season. In 19 career games (3 starts) against Baltimore, Wilson is 2-3 with a 5.17 ERA.
The Angels will commence a nine-game road trip tonight through Baltimore, Toronto and Cleveland, and have won four of five and 11 of their last 15 games. They grabbed bragging rights in the Freeway Series by taking two of three matchups from the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend and posted a 5-3 triumph in Sunday's finale.
Peter Bourjos hit a two-run homer, Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick each knocked in a run and Scott Downs pitched an inning of relief of starter Garrett Richards for the win. Richards was reached for three runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 frames. Ernesto Frieri tossed the final 1 1/3 innings for his ninth save of the season.
"When guys get on base I don't feel any pressure," said Richards. "I've worked on my composure and making quality pitches. My job as a starter is to give us a chance to win."
The Angels are 4 1/2 games behind Texas for the AL West lead.
Meanwhile, Baltimore sits three games behind the New York Yankees for AL East supremacy and opened a nine-game homestand by taking two of three meetings with Washington in a set dubbed as the Beltway Series.
The Orioles won the series thanks to a 2-1 triumph on Sunday, as Matt Wieters garnered hero status by cranking a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning. Wieters had a team-high two hits and plated Adam Jones with the homer.
"I think every hitter in our lineup is going out there believing they are going to get a hit," Wieters said. "Every hitter believes they are going to come up with that big hit, and that's how you're going to win games."
Baltimore starter Jake Arrieta pitched well in six innings, allowing one run on five hits with five strikeouts and a walk, while Pedro Strop picked up the win after getting the final out in the top of the eighth. Jim Johnson registered his 22nd save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
The O's will also entertain Cleveland at Camden Yards. In other team news, veteran infielder Miguel Tejada was released by the club on Monday per his request and he batted .259 in 36 games for Triple-A Norfolk. Tejada, a former AL MVP, was signed to a Minor League deal on May 8.
Toeing the rubber for Baltimore on Tuesday will be Brian Matusz. Matusz has lost three straight and four of five starts and previously pitched in last Wednesday's 4-3 setback against the New York Mets at Citi Field, where he allowed three runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. The effort dropped him to 5-8 in 14 starts this season and raised his earned run average to 5.00.
Matusz lost to the Angels on April 20 this season and is 1-3 with a 6.10 ERA in four career starts against them.
The Orioles lost two of three games to the Angels from April 20-22 and eight of the 12 matchups in this series since the start of 2011.