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ATL@LAA: Hunter's two run blast gives Angels the lead

ANAHEIM -- It had been so long since Torii Hunter hit a home run that he couldn't even remember the last time it happened.

Yet, Hunter was able to break out of a funk -- belting his first home run in over a month -- and Bobby Abreu hit an RBI double in the seventh, his 534th to tie Lou Gehrig on the all-time list, as the Angels beat the Braves, 4-1, on Sunday at Angel Stadium in front of 40,098.

"I haven't seen one of those is a while. I have seen them on television, in the movies," Hunter joked. "It is a lot of fun to get one out of the way this month."

Last belting a home run on April 21, Hunter's fifth home run of the season came on a 2-1 slider from Braves starter Derek Lowe in the fourth after Abreu walked, giving the Angels a 2-1 lead.

Coming into Sunday's game with 141 RBIs during Interleague Play, which ranks ninth all-time, Hunter also had previous success against Lowe -- hitting .273 (6-for-22) with two runs.

The Angels' right fielder finished the series 5-for-12, after falling into a 1-for-24 slide prior to meeting Atlanta.

Losing six of their last seven -- in which four of the losses came by a single run -- the Angels were just happy to take two of three from a competitive Braves ball club.

"This past week was tough," Hunter said.

"We came through [against] some great pitching from Atlanta. These guys are filthy, and we still got some runs."

Hunter got another hit off Lowe to begin the sixth inning, a double to left field, before a ground ball to second by Alberto Callaspo put Hunter on third with only one out. Alexi Amarista then hit a ball in the hole at shortstop and was thrown out, yet it still allowed Hunter to score and give the Angels a 3-1 cushion.

After a bunt single by Erick Aybar in the seventh, Abreu belted a double to right-center field, scoring Aybar. The double tied Lou Gehrig for 32nd on the all-time list.

"It is a dream. Lou Gehrig is a special player," Abreu said. "To be tied with him means a lot.

"It is very emotional and special to me. I just have to enjoy it."

Four runs became more than enough for Angels starter Tyler Chatwood, who bounced back from his worst start of the season in Seattle on Tuesday.

Settling down after the third inning, the righty gave up just one hit over the next four innings.

"Good to bounce back and help the team win," Chatwood said. "I felt good the whole game. But I got into a good rhythm those last three innings, and settled in more to throw every pitch for a strike."

In seven innings of work, Chatwood gave up one run on five hits, while walking two and striking out six for the win. He now moves to 3-2 on the season with a 4.06 ERA.

The six strikeouts were a career high for Chatwood, and his 3/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio was the best over his nine starts this season.

The only run the righty gave up came in the second, when Freddie Freeman belted a double to right field with two out in the second, before Joe Mather drove him home with an RBI single.

"You like to win those ballgames," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "They got the big hits when they needed to, and we didn't."

Giving up another two singles in the third, along with a walk to load the bases with two out, Chatwood got out of the inning, thanks to a stellar defensive play by Mark Trumbo. Going over the railing in the Braves' dugout, the Angels' first baseman stretched out his glove and came down with the popup.

"He commanded his pitches. He had good location on his fastball. He was around the strike zone the whole day, and worked ahead of hitters and didn't walk a lot," said Rob Picciolo, who filled in as Angels manager for Sunday's game because Mike Scioscia was in Indiana for his son's graduation.

"Chatwood pitched with a lot of confidence. Hopefully, he'll take that and carry it further."

Chatwood has found the friendly confines of Angel Stadium especially to his liking -- tallying a 2.87 ERA at home, compared to a 7.43 ERA on the road.

Scott Downs worked a perfect eighth, and Jordan Walden pitched the ninth to earn his eighth save of the season.

"It is nice to win," Picciolo said. "You don't want to let anyone down, and I can't wait to talk to Mike to let him know we got a win." Comments