05/03/12 3:27 AM ET
No-no could jumpstart momentum for Angels
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
It wasn't just Jered Weaver's nine-inning gem. It was how the offense began to click, how the situational hitting improved, how the defense was crisp -- and how an event like this tends to bring a team together.
Through head-scratching offensive woes, bullpen scuffles and a whole lot of early losses, the Angels -- falling under the weight of expectations, falling even further behind the red-hot Rangers in the American League West standings -- seemed like a team in desperate need of a game like this.
Maybe this can be that spark they've been looking for.
"Spark? That's a freaking flame," veteran outfielder Torii Hunter said. "We've been sparking. Throwing a no-hitter is a flame. I like it."
"Hopefully, when we start to move on, we can point to today and say it was the day the guys really put it together," manager Mike Scioscia added. "Our guys did a great job on the offensive side, we ran the bases well, showed some power, some situational hitting. We looked good."
They sure did -- even though it came against a Twins team with the worst record and starting-pitcher ERA in baseball.
The Angels hadn't plated more than four runs or notched double-digit hits since April 21, but did all that through the first three innings in the series finale. By the end of the fourth, they had tied their season high for runs (nine) and hits (13).
And because of that -- oh, and a pretty well-pitched game by Weaver -- they got their first sweep and their first three-game winning streak of the year.
"I look at the last four or five games," Hunter said. "We've been playing pretty well, and it was imminent that this was going to happen. We came through today -- offensively, defensively, the pitching was great. This is what we're capable of doing."
A lot of positives can be drawn from Wednesday.
There was the solid defense by Mark Trumbo at his experimental third base. Peter Bourjos knocking in his first run since April 17. Erick Aybar driving in his second since April 9. The home runs by Howie Kendrick and Kendrys Morales. The combined 11-for-17 by the Nos. 4-7 hitters (Morales, Hunter, Kendrick and Trumbo). And the bunting and the stolen bases and the hit-and-run plays -- the aggressiveness they had been lacking.
What can this mean moving forward?
Only time will tell.
"To tell you the truth, I can't answer that question because I don't know. I don't read the future," said first baseman Albert Pujols, who put his batting average at .208 and his homerless streak at 101 at-bats after a 1-for-5 game -- though he did hit several balls on the nose. "We just need to continue to play and be ready to play tomorrow. We'll celebrate this game today, great job for Weaver, but we need to come back tomorrow and stay focused."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.