Angels 9, Athletics 1 …

It was all about Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson making their debuts, but a lot of other Angels starters put on a good showing in the Cactus League opener.


With several of the everyday players in the starting lineup, the Angels scored at least two runs and sent no less than six batters to the plate in each of the first four innings. In the first, four of the first five hitters reached base, with Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick leading off with back-to-back singles, Pujols following up with an RBI double and, two batters later, Vernon Wells knocking in two with a base hit up the middle.

The Angels rolled from there.

The good

Pujols looked like, well, Pujols. In his first two plate appearances, he stayed back on breaking balls and hit hard line drives to left field.

Wells, who’s working with a modified stance and approach, hit two hard line drives in his first two at-bats, one of them a base hit up the middle. That’s good to see from him.

Aybar and Kendrick, who figure to fill up the top two spots of the order a lot this year, combined to get on base in six straight plate appearances in front of Pujols. Kendrick, who hit a career-high 18 homers last year, hit a two-run shot out to center field.

Speaking of homers, new catcher Chris Iannetta hit a two-run bomb out to left field.

Wilson threw only fastballs and changeups in his two scoreless innings, which saw him give up one hit and walk one while throwing 16 of his 25 pitches for strikes.The changeup is the big pitch to watch with Wilson this spring. He wants to use it more, and he thinks Jered Weaver can help him with it.

How did the changeup feel in Game 1?

“It feels good,” he said. “I got a couple outs on it today. Got some swings and misses, a couple outs, couple foul balls. Results-wise it was good. It’s just something that, it’s got to factor into my thought process a little bit more. But you can’t use it if it’s in your pocket. You have to go out there and throw it and throw it and throw it, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

The bad

Tough to say on a day like this. Torii Hunter, who batted cleanup, struck out twice. Hank Conger, who filled in for Bobby Abreu at DH, went 0-for-4. And Rich Thompson gave up the only run of the game on a sac fly.

But I feel like I’m just picking on them right now.

Best quote

C.J., on Albert: “He’s a phenomenal guy in the clubhouse, really personable and stuff, and you don’t ever really know a guy like that from the opposite side because you treat him with so much respect, or maybe a little bit of disdain because you don’t really want him to beat you. But now that he’s on your team, you root for every little thing that he does and it’s pretty cool. I’m happy to be in the Albert Pujols Fan Club.”

Best play (that I was able to see)

At shortstop, Andrew Romine made diving stops on ground balls to each side and got the out at first base.


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