6/16/2014 12:51 A.M. ET
Aybar turns tables on Braves Gold Glover Simmons
By Joe Morgan / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Angels shortstop Erick Aybar was able to live the revenge fantasy that countless Major Leaguers dream about on Saturday night. Aybar turned the tables by making two spectacular plays to rob Braves shortstop and Gold Glove winner Andrelton Simmons of base hits in an 11-6 win.
"With Andrelton making a lot of great plays and Aybar making plays against him, that's the funniest thing," left-hander C.J. Wilson. "I walked up to him in the dugout and I was like, 'Hey, even better making a play on him.'"
With a man on first and two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Simmons found himself on the other side of a defensive highlight as he smacked a sharp grounder that seemed destined to end up in the left-field grass. Instead, Aybar made a full leap to snag the ball and popped up quickly to get the forceout at second.
Two innings earlier, Aybar robbed Simmons by leaping to snatch a liner out of the air for the third out in the bottom of the second. Both plays impressed starter Garrett Richards, who struck out a career-high 10 batters in six scoreless innings.
"That guy's a Gold Glover and he showed it tonight," Richards said. "In my opinion, he's one of the best in the game at that position."
Simmons had a shot at revenge in the top of 13th inning when Aybar slapped a bunt to shallow short, but his barehanded effort to nab him at first was not quick enough. Aybar scored the winning run later that inning on a Kole Calhoun RBI single.
"When he put that bunt down, I wanted to get him so bad," Simmons said.
Pujols explains reaction to getting hit by pitch
ATLANTA -- Albert Pujols was upset after taking a David Carpenter fastball right above his left elbow during the ninth inning of Sunday night's 7-3 loss to the Braves.
Pujols took his time as he walked to first base, exchanging words with Braves catcher Evan Gattis and home-plate umpire Angel Campos along the way. Although Pujols was angry, he did not believe Carpenter hit him on purpose.
"Why was he going to hit me intentionally with an 0-2 count?" Pujols said. "I was kind of more mad at the umpire because he was trying to tell me why I'm mad. And I'm like, 'You want me to laugh about it? I got hit by 96 miles per hour.' That was it.
Pujols shouted and did not immediately head to first base after Carpenter plunked him, prompting Campos to ask the Angels first baseman why he was angry.
"Well, I just got hit by a 96-miles-per-hour fastball," Pujols told Campos. "Why do you think?"
Aybar OK after leaving game with sore left hip
ATLANTA -- Angels shortstop Erick Aybar exited Sunday night's 7-3 loss to the Braves with a sore left hip prior to the bottom of the third. The injury is not believed to be serious and Aybar said he expects to play against the Indians on Monday.
"He had a little bruise on his hip and it was getting tight tonight, so hopefully he'll be available tomorrow, but we'll see how it sets up," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. "We'll evaluate it tomorrow, but we don't think it's anything that's going to have a prolonged effect."
Aybar sustained the injury while diving for an Andrelton Simmons grounder in Saturday's win against the Braves and it flared up again as he ran to first base when he reached on a fielder's choice in the top of the third during Sunday's loss.
John McDonald entered the game at shortstop in place of Aybar.
"I felt a little bit sore," Aybar said. "I felt it right away. I don't want to miss more time. Better take a day and not wait two weeks or something."
Aybar gave Los Angeles an early 1-0 lead on Sunday with a solo home run in the top of the second off Atlanta starter Mike Minor. He entered Sunday's game leading all Major League shortstops with a .325 (63-for-194) batting average since April 21 and his 37 RBIs lead all American League shortstops.
Ebel's call for Wilson to pinch-hit helps build big inning
ATLANTA -- Following a leadoff single by Erick Aybar on Saturday, the Angels' acting manager Dino Ebel called on southpaw starter C.J. Wilson to make his 23rd career plate appearance and bunt Aybar over to second base.
"He's a great bunter," Ebel said. "He knows how to bunt. He wanted to bunt, so we gave him that chance."
The experiment had seemingly failed when Wilson bunted the first two offerings from Braves reliever David Hale foul to fall behind 0-2, but the lefty battled back by taking four straight balls to end up on first base. It was his third career base on balls.
"Fouling off two bunts is kind of frustrating," Wilson said. "We've practiced bunting the past couple of weeks. Some of the coaches have pretty sick movement [on their pitches], so I just tried to make sure I got a strike."
Ebel added: "C.J. taking, looking for the strike. Even with two strikes, he was going to bunt and he didn't get the strike, and he took his walk, which is nice."
The walk was part of a five-run inning for the Halos as Wilson crossed home plate for his third career run on a two-run double by Mike Trout. Wilson applauded Ebel's decision to use him in that situation, even with Collin Cowgill and Hank Conger still available to come off the bench.
Most of all, Wilson was happy to achieve some redemption as the four runs he allowed in the first inning of his last start proved costly in the Angels' 4-3 loss to the Braves the previous night.
"You've got to do that if you can because it preserves the bench," Wilson said. "It gives our guys a chance, if it didn't work out, it gives them the chance to pinch-hit later in the game, so whatever I could do to help the team. I lost the game singlehandedly [the] last night, so it was nice to score a run tonight and be part of the effort."
Salas lands on DL with right shoulder inflammation
ATLANTA -- The Angels have placed right-handed reliever Fernando Salas on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. The club recalled right-hander Dane De La Rosa from Triple-A Salt Lake in a corresponding move.
"It's something that's been nagging him, something that's lingering," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's gotten to the point where it's lingered enough to where you want to try to knock it out if you can. The only way to do it is to shut him down over a course of time."
The injury has not affected the performance of Salas, who owns a 2.96 ERA and has surrendered only one run in his past five appearances. He tossed two scoreless innings and earned the victory in the Angels' 11-6 win against the Braves on Saturday.
"I think he's making his pitches," Scioscia said. "But it's becoming tough for him to rebound and get loose and things that are eventually going to affect his velocity and command, and that's important to him."
De La Rosa owns a 4.24 ERA in 85 career Major League innings and has compiled a 3.73 ERA in nearly 500 innings during 11 seasons in the Minors.
Scioscia returns to club after Welch's funeral
ATLANTA -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia missed Saturday's game against the Braves to attend the funeral of 1990 AL Cy Young Award winner Bob Welch, 57, his former teammate of eight seasons with the Dodgers.
"It was an emotional day, but it was, I think, very uplifting," Scioscia said. "It was a great tribute for Bobby and he had lots and lots of friends and family. It was inspiring to see that."
Welch was a beloved member of the baseball community. But for as many former players and coaches there were at the ceremony, Scioscia was impressed by how many lives the former pitcher touched off the diamond.
"A lot of ex-Dodgers, A's, just friends around baseball, but that was really just a small portion of it," Scioscia said. "Bobby had a lot of friends from a lot of different areas."
Bench coach Dino Ebel managed in place of Scioscia, who missed a wild game that saw the Braves rally back from deficits in both the ninth and the 10th innings before the Halos finally came out on top with a five-run showing in the 13th inning.
"You're still involved; you never watch the game as a fan," Scioscia said. "Dino was making the moves he needed to make. Dino and [pitching coach Mike Butcher] have a good handle on the parts of the club they needed to make moves on."
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.