Baltimore Orioles right-hander Mychal Givens didn’t want his teammates playing deep into the night for the second time in three days.
With a late lead slipping from his grasp in the ninth inning, Givens struck out Mike Trout with the game-tying run at third base and got Justin Upton to pop out with the bases loaded, preserving an 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.
The Orioles got the offense they needed when Hanser Alberto hit a two-run single in the eighth inning and the team set a major league record with multiple home runs in their 10th straight game in the victory.
Givens made it stick with his ninth save, two days after giving up a game-tying home run to the Angels’ Brian Goodwin in the ninth inning of a contest that eventually went 16 innings. The fact that the Orioles won that game was some consolation. Getting Trout and Upton on Saturday seemed to take away the remainder of the sting.
“(Trout) is a really good hitter, but at the same time, I trust my stuff and the matchups I’ve been having against him, so just attacking him and just making pitches,” said Givens, who has four strikeouts against Trout in seven at-bats.
Pedro Severino and Jonathan Villar homered for Baltimore, whose 1987 and 1996 clubs were among the other five teams to have multiple homers in nine straight games. Baltimore has won seven of its last 10 games after falling 38 games below .500 following a loss to the Washington Nationals on July 16.
With the win, the Orioles moved within a victory Sunday of posting a four-game sweep of the Angels. The Orioles have not swept a series this season.
“This is amazing,” Severino said. “There are a lot of young talented guys we have over here. We teach how to play baseball. Second half, they’ve looked much better than (the) first half. We’ll keep working and see what happens at the end of the year.”
Baltimore almost had its chance at a sweep thwarted before one last Angels rally fell short. David Fletcher delivered an RBI single in the ninth inning for Los Angeles, before Trout struck out and Upton popped out. Fletcher had his first career four-hit game.
The Angels put on their own long-ball display. Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Albert Pujols all hit homers.
Villar’s home run in the sixth inning, his 13th of the season, gave the Orioles a 6-5 lead. But Pujols countered with a home run in the bottom of the sixth, barely clearing the short wall in the right-field corner. It was Pujols’ 16th of the season.
Both teams scored a pair of runs in the first inning. The Orioles have scored 27 runs in the three games in the series, while the Angels have scored 18.
Severino had a two-run single in the opening inning, while the Angels matched it on Trout’s two-run home run as the second Los Angeles batter of the game. The blast to deep left field was Trout’s American League-leading 34th of the season and his 12th in 16 games.
The Angels were right back at it in the second inning. Fletcher had a two-run double for a 4-2 lead. The Orioles moved back on top in the third on an RBI double by Renato Nunez and a two-run home run by Severino, giving him four RBIs in the first three innings.
The back-and-forth continued in the bottom of the third inning when Ohtani led off with a home run, his 15th and his first since July 7 against the Houston Astros.
Alberto’s two-run single in the eighth inning chased Angels’ reliever Ty Buttrey (6-5). Buttery recorded just one out while giving up two hits and two runs.
“I wasn’t executing my fastball and a couple of those pitches were supposed to be up in the zone,” Buttrey said. “They were right out over the plate, didn’t execute my slider. You face good hitters and they are going to capitalize on missed pitches. You have to figure it out.”
Orioles left-hander Richard Bleier (2-0) struck out one in a scoreless inning and picked up the victory. Givens got four outs to earn the save.
“I always believed we have talent,” Givens said. “We’d just make some minor errors. At the same time, it’s learning and rebuilding with this team. We’ve got a lot of young guys. We’ve got some veterans and a lot of rookies who just haven’t been the big leagues much, so they’re learning and having a good experience, learning from the first half, and now, in the second half, we don’t make as many mistakes as we (did).”
Pujols set an individual homer milestone when he hit his 100th career home run at Angel Stadium. He also passed the 100 mark at Busch Stadium in St. Louis and became the 12th player in major league history with 100 home runs at two ballparks. He is also just the third to do it in an American League and National League ballpark, joining Mark McGwire and Frank Robinson.
“He’s still a threat and the pitchers, the opposing managers, they have to respect Albert when he’s in the batter’s box because he still has the ability to drive the ball out of the park,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said.
Orioles: OF Dwight Smith Jr. left Saturday’s game in the third inning with left calf soreness. … OF/DH Mark Trumbo, on the 60-injured list after knee surgery, will take a break from his rehabilitation schedule following a recent setback. … LHP John Means, who was placed on the 10-day IL on Friday, will now get an MRI on his injured left biceps, with the Orioles calling it “procedural.”
Angels: C Jonathan Lucroy (concussion) went 0 for 4 in the second game of his rehab assignment with Class A Inland Empire. … RHP Noe Ramirez was placed on the 10-day IL with a viral infection, retroactive to Thursday, after initially believing he might have food poisoning. … RHP JC Ramirez, on the 60-day IL after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, is expected to throw 20 pitches Sunday on a rehab assignment with Class A Inland Empire, and is expected to be activated onto the major league roster Tuesday, manager Brad Ausmus said.
Orioles: RHP Dylan Bundy (5-11), who has given up three home runs in nine at-bats to Albert Pujols and two home runs to Mike Trout in nine at-bats, will take the mound in Sunday’s series finale.
Angels: RHP Felix Pena (8-3) will pick up a bulk of the innings Sunday, with the club still undecided if he will start the game outright or if it will use an opener at the outset.
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