Friday, May 11, 2007

Los Angeles Angels Beat Indians in Escobar Jewel

Kelvim Escobar pitched a jewel of a performance for Los Angeles in Thursday afternoon's 8-0 win over the Cleveland Indians at Angels' Stadium in Anaheim. Escobar pitched his first complete game since 2003, blanking Cleveland with his masterful shutout. The Angels' lineup also provided rare run support for Escobar -- including a Gary Matthews homer for the second day in a row -- and (slow-moving) catcher Jose Molina even stole home plate:

But the star was Escobar, who gave up seven hits and no walks on his way to recording the Angels' first complete game of the season. Utilizing pinpoint control of his fastball, Escobar had a season-high nine strikeouts and recorded his first shutout since June 8, 2003, against Cincinnati as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.

"If I can move my fastball around like that, I can get a lot of people out because my secondary pitches are good and I can keep the hitters off balance," said Escobar, who has given up one run in 16 innings over his last two starts.

Escobar faced only two jams and escaped both with a little help from his friends in the infield. With runners on first and second and one out in the third, Grady Sizemore ripped a pitch to first baseman Quinlan, who started a 3-1-2-5 double play in which Ryan Garko was eventually tagged out in a rundown between third and home.

Then, in the ninth, the Indians hit consecutive singles to put two on with one out. Escobar retired Kelly Shoppach on a popup to the infield, but Jason Michaels hit a smash toward third baseman Matt Brown, who had made his major league debut an inning earlier as a defensive replacement.
I actually said hello to Escobar on Wednesday, shaking hands and wishing him well after picking up my tickets at the box office for that evening's dramatic come-from-behind, 3-2 victory over Cleveland. (Escobar was hanging out taking pictures with two attractive and affectionate young women in front of the stadium in the early afternoon -- it must be nice being a star major-league pitcher!)

I took my oldest boy to Wednesday's game. We had a great time -- the game was one of the most exciting I've seen at Angels' Stadium in awhile. We enjoy the ballpark atmosphere and the food (especially my son, who orders a new item just about every other inning). Plus, I treasure the chance to spend an evening at the ole ball game with my son.

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