ANAHEIM, Calif. (DETROIT FREE PRESS) — David Freese hit a tiebreaking homer off Joba Chamberlain in the eighth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Detroit Tigers, 2-1, today for their third straight victory.
Erick Aybar scored from second base on Rick Porcello's poor pickoff throw in the fifth for the Angels, who improved the majors' second-best record to 63-41 in the finale of a 10-game homestand.
Hector Santiago and three Angels relievers combined on a three hitter as Detroit managed just one hit in its final 25 at-bats, getting just one baserunner after the first inning.
Victor Martinez had an RBI double in the first inning for the Tigers, who have lost nine of 10 at the Big A, including three of four in this series.
Freese, who had been 5 for 31 on the Angels' homestand, delivered one of the biggest hits in his up-and-down debut season with the Angels.
He drove a one-out pitch from Chamberlain (1-4) to the fake rock pile beyond the center field fence for his sixth homer of the season.
Joe Smith (4-0) pitched the eighth for Los Angeles, which got nine innings of scoreless, two-hit relief pitching in its three straight wins over Detroit.
Huston Street pitched the ninth for his third save in four appearances with his new club.
After a rough first inning, Santiago retired 14 straight Tigers in another strong start for the Angels. The left-hander yielded three hits while pitching into the sixth inning of his seventh straight appearance without a loss following his 0-7 start to the year.
Porcello pitched seven innings of five-hit ball for the Tigers, but left without his 13th victory, which would have matched St. Louis' Adam Wainwright for the major league lead. Porcello struck out six, including the last four batters he faced, and only allowed a runner to reach second base in the fifth inning.
Santiago needed 28 pitches to get out of the first inning, though he allowed just one run. Ian Kinsler singled and eventually scored on Martinez's drive to the right-field wall.
Santiago quickly found his groove, but Porcello didn't allow a runner to reach second until back-to-back singles by Aybar and Kendrick in the fifth. Porcello then threw a pickoff attempt into center field, and Aybar alertly scampered all the way home when three Tigers forgot about him.
NOTES: Josh Hamilton returned to Los Angeles' lineup after a day off to rest his sore left knee, but Angels fans booed the $125 million slugger for a lack of hustle in the second inning. Hamilton struck out on a pitch in the dirt and walked slowly back to the dugout instead of running to first while Tigers catcher Bryan Holaday chased the ball to the backstop. … Rookie Angels reliever Mike Morin retired all five Tigers he faced after relieving Santiago, striking out Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera to end the sixth. … Cabrera also struck out to end the game, capping an 0-for-4 day for the former AL MVP. … Mike Trout went 2-for-15 in the series.