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AMERICAN LEAGUE


AMERICAN LEAGUE
A pair of minor earthquakes shook Angel Stadium on Thursday night, but the twin tremors couldn't even crack the top five list of oddities that occurred during the Angels' 10-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

First, there was pitcher Matt Palmer, who went 1-1 with an 11.74 earned-run average in two games at triple-A Salt Lake before being called up to plug the latest hole in the Angels' rotation.

After giving up runs in the first two innings, the 30-year-old right-hander retired 12 straight from the second through sixth innings and provided a more than serviceable six innings, giving up five runs -- four earned -- and six hits to earn his first big league win.

"He was a little erratic early in the game and in the seventh [when he walked two]," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "But in between, his stuff was in the zone with good movement, and that plays well in the big leagues."

Then there was reliever Jason Bulger, who gave up two grand slams on last week's road trip and was on the verge of being designated for assignment before another wave of injuries hit the pitching staff.

Bulger, who had a 13.50 ERA in his first five games, escaped a two-on, no-outs jam in the seventh to preserve a 6-5 Angels lead.

The inconsistent right-hander got the dangerous Magglio Ordonez to pop to first on a 3-and-1 pitch and cleanup batter Miguel Cabrera to ground into a double play.

Bulger then retired the side in order in the eighth, striking out two, before yielding to the equally inconsistent and erratic Justin Speier, who retired the side in order in the ninth.

"He had some tough outings early," Scioscia said, "but it was great to see Bulge come in and do the job."

Then there was the Angels' offense, which scored two runs in the fourth on a pair of bases-loaded walks by Edwin Jackson, who had walked five in his first 24 innings this season, and two in the sixth on third baseman Brandon Inge's throwing error.

And center fielder Torii Hunter, who felt so ill and listless Thursday afternoon that he visited a doctor, hitting a single to spark a two-run rally in the fourth and a solo home run in the fifth, his sixth homer of the season and 800th career run batted in.

The Angels caught a huge break in the sixth. With two on and no outs, Jeff Mathis fouled off two bunt attempts, but Jackson bounced a wild pitch in the dirt, advancing both runners, who then scored in Inge's throwing error from third to make it 5-2.

The Angels caught another break in the seventh when, with two outs, Gary Matthews Jr. took off from first on a hit-and-run play. Howie Kendrick doubled into the right-field corner, but Matthews slowed around second, looking back for the ball even though there were two outs, and held at third.

Not to worry. Mathis walked to load the bases, two runs scored on Chone Figgins' perfectly placed bunt single to the right side, and Maicer Izturis and Abreu followed with RBI singles to complete a game-breaking, four-run rally.

Oh, and one other thing: Every Angels starter got a hit in back-to-back games for the first time since 2004, when the Angels accomplished the feat against Toronto on July 11 and Boston on July 15, the first day after the All-Star break.

"There were some weird things out there," Hunter said, "but at the end of the day, we got the job done."

--

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 24, 2009

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