BY: BRIAN KREPS
ANAHEIM, Calif. – With Arizona Diamondbacks’ pitcher Jeremy Hellickson cruising, and Arizona clinging to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, Los Angeles Angels’ first baseman Albert Pujols walked up to the plate; and Pujols did what he has done quite often in his career — he changed the game with one swing of the bat.
Pujols blasted a two-run home run to give the Angels a 2-1 lead, which eventually turned into a 4-1 victory, in front of 40,099 at Angels Stadium.
The Diamondbacks scored first in the second inning. Second baseman Chris Owings led off the inning with a bunt single. After catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia lined out, and with shortstop Nick Ahmed at bat, Owings would advance to second base on a passed ball. Ahmed eventually drew a walk, and when ball four turned into a passed ball, Owings moved to third. Center fielder A.J. Pollock followed with a sacrifice fly to score Owings, making the score 1-0. First baseman Danny Dorn would ground into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Neither team would score until the sixth inning. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, center fielder Mike Trout walked to set up Pujols’ blast to center, wiping out the 1-0 hole they were in. The home run was Pujols’ 19th of the season, and the 539th of his career, moving Pujols nine home runs closer to tying Hall-of-Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt for 15th on the all-time home run list at 548.
The Angels would get a few more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, courtesy of a two-run homer hit by designated hitter David Freese. It was Freese’s 10th home run of the season.
Huston Street pitched a perfect ninth to preserve the win, and record his 20th save of the season for the Angels.
Hellickson turned in another strong start, going six innings, giving up only four hits and two runs while striking out six.
“The walk to (Mike) Trout was not a terrible two-out walk. I was ahead of him 1-2, I feel I need put him away right there. The pitch to (Albert) Pujols; just can’t make that mistake,” Hellickson said. “I just can’t let those two guys beat me.”
Another bright spot for the Diamondbacks was Dorn. When outfielder Ender Inciarte was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, Dorn was selected to replace him on the roster. Dorn took Paul Goldschmidt’s place at first base, and he had a two-hit night.