Rangers 10, Angels 9 …
Josh Hamilton‘s return — and ensuing home run — was the story, but perhaps the biggest takeaway was Jerome Williams‘ outing.
“Unacceptable,” the Angels’ projected long reliever said after giving up seven runs on 11 hits and retiring only four batters.
Williams came in giving up five earned runs in nine Cactus League innings, walking four and striking out eight, but his last two appearances — which don’t towards those numbers — came in Minor League games because he’s been lining up the same day as Jered Weaver. Angels manager Mike Scioscia was pretty candid, at least by his standards, on Williams’ outing, saying it was “definitely a step back.”
“He was having trouble putting guys away, everything was flat, he wasn’t hitting spots,” Scioscia added. “There’s a lot of things he wasn’t controlling out there. … We need to see him getting ready to get guys out and pitch the way he can, just like anybody else that’s fighting for roles.”
Here’s more on a game that featured both teams’ ‘A’ lineup, for the most part, and ended on a walk-off, three-run double by Leonys Martin …
Hamilton got his first game against his former team out of the way. … Well, kind of. The scene at Rangers Ballpark on April 5 figures to be a lot more hostile, the stakes much greater. But still, he went 1-for-3 with a homer, caught up with some ex-‘mates and addressed some of the lingering questions about his return to Texas.
The Angels’ offense displayed its might in the fourth inning, getting homers by Albert Pujols, Hamilton, Howie Kendrick and Hank Conger — they’ve only hit four homers in an inning once in regular-season history, in 2000 — to finish with six runs.
Conger also threw the ball well, picking off a runner at first base and throwing accurately to second on Elvis Andrus‘ successful stolen base. It may not be much, but it’s progress for a guy who has struggled mightily with his throwing this spring.
Mike Trout slammed into the left-field fence trying to catch a fly ball early in the game, but laughed it off later and said he was fine.
Erick Aybar, returning from a championship run in the WBC, booted a grounder in the second. He hasn’t had much game action at shortstop in a while, with Jose Reyes playing the majority of the time for the Dominican Republic.
Best play (that I saw)
Kendrick made yet another fine play at second, ranging to his right and making an off-balance throw that Pujols fielded on a short-hop.
Hamilton, on his return: “It was weird. It was. I mean it was good to play this game. I think it definitely helped, just seeing the guys before the game a little bit, talking to them, and just seeing them over here in that dugout. We’ve had some history. But it was good. It was what I expected. They came out and played. It’s going to be fun this year, to play against them.”