ANAHEIM, Calif. – Mike Trout had a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning and Raul Ibanez added a two-run triple, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 6-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night.
Fernando Salas (2-0) got the victory with a hitless eighth inning after relieving starter Tyler Skaggs, and former Indians setup man Joe Smith got three outs for his first save after replacing the ineffective Ernesto Frieri as the Angels’ closer.
Justin Masterson (0-1) gave up six runs and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings after getting a no-decision in each of his first five starts. The right-hander hasn’t posted a victory since beating the Angels 3-1 last Aug. 21 at the “Big A.”
Cleveland first baseman Nick Swisher misplayed J.B. Shuck’s leadoff grounder in the eighth for an error, and Erick Aybar bunted Shuck to second before Trout singled to left on a full-count pitch to snap a 3-all tie. Albert Pujols was walked intentionally in front of Ibanez, who capped the scoring with his triple to right-center on Masterson’s 113th and final pitch.
Skaggs allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings and struck out six. The left-hander, staked to a 1-0 lead on Pujols’ RBI groundout in the first, retired his first 10 batters before giving up a double by Swisher, a walk to Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana’s second homer of the season into the left field bullpen.
The Indians’ switch-hitting third baseman came in batting .122 over his first 24 games and was 3 for 22 with men in scoring position. But manager Terry Francona said before the game that he wasn’t ready to drop Santana out of the cleanup spot, where he has been in every game he’s played.
The Angels tied it in the fifth on a two-out, two-run double down the right field line by Aybar after Masterson issued a leadoff walk to Ian Stewart and a single by David Freese. Stewart started at third base while Freeze was the designated hitter on his 31st birthday.
The Indians, who had just gotten swept in a series at San Francisco, were 2 for 20 with runners in scoring position during that three-game set and totaled just five runs – while their 4-5-6 hitters were a combined 0 for 29.