It seems as though the Los Angeles Angels have finally banished their Texas demons, as they handily defeated the Houston Astros 7-2 on Saturday afternoon. The win moved the Halos to 5-7 on the season against Houston, a record which they will have a few more chances to improve as they face their division rivals in the long summer months.
The Angels were clicking in every facet of the game, collecting 11 hits, receiving yet another wonderful performance from Joe Blanton — seven innings, two runs and three hits — and sealing the deal with a solid finish from the bullpen.
It was the type of complete game that has been in short order for a team that was supposed to be among the most complete in the majors heading into this season; for that, the Halos and their fans may have plenty to look forward to.
For example, Josh Hamilton‘s hitting streak reached five games when he doubled in the second. Hamilton’s plate discipline and comfort in the batter’s box appear to be much improved over the past few games, a fact that bodes well for the slugger and could propel the Los Angeles offense to new heights.
Blanton — 2-10, 5.07 ERA — must have finally breathed a sight of relief when reliever Garrett Richards recorded the final out of the game; the starter had been denied a decision in three of his last four outings, the most recent disappointment coming at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and snatch the win away from Blanton.
The next step for the Angels is getting healthy and demonstrating consistency. But for now, a five-game win streak is a much-needed boost to a team that has been short on encouragement in the first half of the season.
Tony Baker is a Los Angeles Angels blogger for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @tonloc_baker.