6/18/2013 8:48 P.M. ET
Pujols is finding his June groove
By William Boor / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Throughout his 13 Major League seasons, Albert Pujols has been fond of the month of June, and through 15 June games this season, it appears the Angels slugger is sticking to that trend.
Pujols is a career .329 hitter in June. He hit .326 in the month a season ago and is hitting .333 while slugging .567 this June.
"Albert's been swinging better definitely the last month," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Coming off his third four-hit game of the season, Pujols has had multiple hits in four of the Angels' last five games entering Tuesday. The only game during that stretch in which Pujols didn't have a hit was also the Angels' only loss in those five games.
After a slow start to the season, Pujols has used the first half of June to raise his batting average from .246 to .266, his on base percentage from .318 to .334 and his slugging percentage from .415 to .449.
"He feels good about contributing," Scioscia said. "He takes a lot of pride in what he means to our club. He wants to be that guy that is the foundation of your lineup."
Pujols has been that foundation. In his past five games, he is 12-for-23 with five RBIs.
Kohn emerging as bullpen standout
ANAHEIM -- While the Angels' offense has stolen the show for the past five games, the bullpen has fulfilled its obligation, allowing just two earned runs over its last 12 2/3 innings entering Tuesday.
Right-hander Michael Kohn is among those is the bullpen, but his string of success goes back even further. Kohn has held opponents scoreless in his last eight appearances and has allowed one run in his last 18 appearances -- a span of 13 2/3 innings, in which his ERA is 0.66.
"Obviously with [Sean] Burnett and [Ryan] Madson being hurt, everyone down there has had to step up," Kohn said. "Each guy has risen to the occasion."
Kohn believes the key to his success is simply throwing the first pitch in the strike zone.
"Strike one is huge here in the big leagues," Kohn said. "Just getting ahead of hitters as much as I can, attacking them, don't try to be too fine. Just attack the hitters and let my stuff play."
While that is always his approach, his execution has been nearly flawless.
In Kohn's 18-appearances hot streak, he has allowed just five hits while striking out 13. He has also lowered his ERA from 5.79 to 1.96.
Angels are quieter on the basepaths
ANAHEIM -- Not only are the Angels having trouble keeping their opposition from stealing bases, but the club is also experiencing difficulties stealing bases themselves -- despite manager Mike Scioscia's aggressive philosophy.
Entering Tuesday, the Angels ranked 20th in the Majors with just 30 stolen bases -- 15 of which came courtesy of team leader Mike Trout.
While ranking in the bottom half of the league is a long stretch from the No. 5 ranking the Angels finished with a season ago, Scioscia is keeping it in perspective.
"Part of it is we had some guys that were banged up, some of our team speed," Scioscia said. "Erick [Aybar] was banged up and missed some time. Peter [Bourjos] missed some time."
While the Angels no longer have Maicer Izturis and his 17 stolen bases from 2012, Scioscia also feels part of the decline is the league taking notice to the 134 bases -- 49 by Trout -- that the Angels stole a season ago.
"Other teams are definitely paying more attention," Scioscia said.
Despite the slow start, Scioscia thinks everything will even out, saying Trout's numbers will be "comparable to last year" when all is said and done.
The Angels manager also believes Bourjos can increase his stolen bases.
Bourjos stole 22 bases in 2011, but managed to swipe just three bags in '12 and has only stolen three this season -- although he did miss significant time while on the disabled list.
"As far as straight steals, there's no doubt that once he finds a comfort level, he has the ability to steal more bases," Scioscia said.
• Chris Iannetta was not in Tuesday's starting lineup, but was healthy and simply got a breather.
• On June 18, 1986, Don Sutton pitched a complete game and allowed just one run against Texas to become the 19th pitcher in Major League history to log 300 victories.
William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.