When the Los Angeles Angels started interleague on Friday night, they entered with the fifth-best record all-time, at 139-109. By the time Jordan Walden delivered the final pitch on Sunday afternoon, the Angels’ dominance over the National League was on display once again.
Tyler Chatwood pitched seven strong innings and Torii Hunter provided the game-winning hit with a two-run home run over the left field fence in the fourth inning, propelling the Angels to a 4-1 win over the Atlanta Braves.
The win gave the Angels the victory in the three-game series over the Braves, who came into the weekend 11-6 in the month of May, but have now lost four of their last five.
Hunter connected off Braves starting pitcher Derek Lowe (3-4) after Lowe had given up a leadoff walk to Bobby Abreu in the bottom of the fourth. For Hunter, it was his first homer since connecting off Red Sox starter Josh Beckett on April 21.
Abreu would later drive in the Angels’ final run in the seventh with his 534th double, tying Lou Gehrig for 32nd place on the career list.
The win also gave bench coach Rob Picciolo his first victory as manager, subbing for skipper Mike Scioscia, who was at Notre Dame to witness the graduation of his son, Matt. The victory also kept the Angels within a half-game of the Texas Rangers in the AL West, who avoided a sweep by the Phillies today with a 2-0 victory.
Overall, Chatwood threw 113 pitches, 67 for strikes. He allowed one run on five hits, with six strikeouts and two walk. Chatwood had lively movement on his four-seam fastball all afternoon, and held his velocity right through his entire effort, registering 94 MPH on the radar gun in the seventh inning.
The Angels will now take on the Oakland Athletics in a four-game series at Angels Stadium. The A’s are reeling a bit, having lost their short two-game set with the Minnesota Twins and losing the first two games of their Bay Series with the San Francisco Giants.