Interleague Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Los Angeles Angels' leadoff man J.B. Shuck doubled to the corner in left field in Nationals Park. Mike Trout reached on an error by Anthony Rendon at third. Albert Pujols sent one into the stratosphere. Before Taylor Jordan even got started, the right-hander and the Washington Nationals were down 3-0 in the second game of three with the LA Angels in D.C. and Pujols was up to 499 career home runs after taking the Nats' 25-year-old right-hander deeeeeep to left field for a three-run first inning blast. Chris Iannetta hit a two-out RBI single to left field and it was 4-0 Angels after a half an inning in the nation's capital.
The Nationals loaded the bases with no one out in the third and a wild pitch by Angels' lefty Tyler Skaggs allowed Sandy Leon to score from third base after he doubled to start the frame and moved up on a misplayed bunt by Taylor Jordan. Denard Span walked to load'em up and he and Jordan moved up on a HBP on Danny Espinosa. Jayson Werth grounded into a double play in the next at bat, but the Nationals' second run of the game scored on the 6-4-3 DP. 4-2 LA after three.
In his third at bat of the game, Albert Pujols hit his 500th home run into the Red Porch seats in left-center field, taking a belt-high 1-2 heater from Taylor Jordan out of the yard for a two-run blast that made it 6-2 Angels.
Tyler Skaggs settled in after that and held it there through seven innings in which he threw a total of 94 pitches.
The Angels added to their lead in the top of the eighth with Erick Aybar doubling, stealing third and scoring on a sac fly by David Freese. 7-2 LAA.
That's how it ended...
Where's my pot of gold? Or at least a Curly W pic.twitter.com/mo3qJOPQo0— Dave Jageler (@DaveJageler) April 22, 2014
4. Williams' Scouting Report on Skaggs: The Los Angeles Angels' 22-year-old, '09 1st Round pick Tyler Skaggs was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2010 deal for that brought Dan Haren to LA, then reacquired in the three-team Mark Trumbo/Adam Eaton trade in 2013 with the Chicago White Sox, Angels and D-Backs. During his time as a coach in AZ, Nats' skipper Matt Williams got a chance to watch the 6'4'' southpaw, and he offered the following scouting report before this afternoon's game in the nation's capital:
"Tyler [Skaggs] was with us in Arizona. Certainly high-celing guy. Has got a good fastball, ball runs a little bit away from the right-handers, in to the lefties. Big curveball. One of the bigger curve balls in the game. He's a tall kid. He creates great angle over the top and that's a true 12-to-6 curveball."
Skaggs made 13 starts in two major league seasons with the D-Backs, and he was making his fourth start of the season tonight in D.C. In his previous three outings this year, the left-hander was (1-0) with a 3.43 ERA, 3.80 FIP, four walks (1.71 BB/9) and 11 Ks (4.71 K/9) in 21 IP.
In his first career start against the Nationals tonight, the Woodland Hills, California-born southpaw started with two scoreless frames, but ran into trouble in the third.
The Nationals loaded the bases with no one out with Sandy Leon doubling, Taylor Jordan reaching on a misplayed bunt and Denard Span walking. With Danny Espinosa at the plate, Skaggs bounced a fastball in the dirt that got away from Chris Iannetta. Leon scored on the wild pitch to make it 4-1. Danny Espinosa was hit by a pitch, as the Nats reloaded the bases, but Jayson Werth grounded into a double play on which Jordan scored to make it 4-2 Angels. A walk to Anthony Rendon put runners on the corners with two down, but Skaggs popped Ian Desmond up to end a 27-pitch inning with a two-run lead.
Skaggs settled in after that rough inning and was through six on 80 pitches with a 6-2 lead.
Tyler Moore took a one-out walk from the Angels' lefty in the bottom of the seventh, but groundouts from Sandy Leon and pinch hitter Zach Walters ended the seventh with the LA starter up to 94 pitches overall...
Tyler Skaggs' Line: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 Ks, 94 P, 53 S, 7/2 GO/FO.
Baseball at the end of the rainbow... pic.twitter.com/8Z5nqoadmd— Mike Ferrin (@MikeFerrinSXM) April 22, 2014
3. vs LHP: With Skaggs on the hill tonight, Matt Williams mixed things up a little in the lineup. "Adam [LaRoche] is out of there tonight," Williams explained before the second game of three with LAA. "Tyler [Moore] is going to play first. [LaRoche] took a ball off of Garrett Jones' bat in the quad, so he's been a little bit sore, so tonight is an opportunity to give him a day and have him available late in the game certainly for pinch hitting duty. And we moved [Danny Espinosa] up a little bit tonight and put Tyler kind of in the meat of the order, if you will. Hopefully get them a lot of opportunities in the meat of that order. Anthony [Rendon] is going to hit fourth. Anthony will hit anywhere it doesn't matter."
Given an opportunity to start, Moore, who entered the game 3 for 14 with a double and a home run, went 0 for 2 with a walk and a K. Espinosa was 0 for 3. Rendon, in the cleanup spot, went 0 for 3 with a walk.
2. 3-0 After One: "He wasn't crisp if you want to say that," Matt Williams told reporters after Taylor Jordan's last start, a five-inning outing against St. Louis in which the right-handed ground ball pitcher gave up seven hits and seven runs, five of them earned. "It just wasn't crisp today," Williams repeated. "But again, outside of the miscues, he didn't pitch all that bad. He got into an issue his last inning, but then his pitch count was way up there, but outside of the first inning it wasn't that bad. He wasn't as crisp as normal, but he made his pitches and he battled."
A rough first, and a few pitches left up in the zone, caused trouble for Jordan again tonight...
1st: Tough start. Taylor Jordan left a fastball up in the zone for J.B. Shuck, who lined an opposite field double to left. Anthony Rendon knocked down a hard-hit grounder from Mike Trout and rushed the throw, firing wide of first base. E:5. Albert Pujols stepped in against the Nats' 25-year-old right-hander with two on and no one out and hit his 499th career home run out to left field on a 1-1 change up in the zone. 3-0 Angels. One home run away from 500 for Pujols. Howie Kendrick doubled off the out-of-town scoreboard with two down, taking a 2-1 slider the other way and almost out, and after taking third on a groundout, Kendrick scored on a two-out single to left by Chris Iannetta to make it 4-0 LAA after a 32-pitch first inning by Jordan.
2nd: Jordan bounced back after the rough first with a nine-pitch, 2 K, 1-2-3 second that ended when Albert Pujols K'd chasing a 1-2 slider outside.The quick frame left the Nats' right-hander at 41 pitches total after two.
3rd: Taylor Jordan was all over a bunt by Raul Ibanez, firing a strike to first for the first out of the frame. A groundout to third by Howie Kendrick and a groundout to first by Erick Aybar followed in a quick, six-pitch, 1-2-3 third by the Nationals' starter, who was up to 47 pitches overall after three.
4th: Anthony Rendon's second error of the game came on a sharp grounder to third base by David Freese on which he threw too high to first and out of Tyler Moore's reach. Chris Iannetta grounded out to third in the next at bat and Rendon's throw was on target this time. Rendon was tested again on a weak roller hit his way by the opposing pitcher and came through, and Taylor Jordan struck B.J. Shuck out to end a 13-pitch inning that left him at 60 pitches overall.
A fantastic rainbow has appeared beyond right field at #Nats Park as the Nats and #Angels are set to get underway! pic.twitter.com/eW9O9P5sQr— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 22, 2014
5th: Mike Trout started the fifth with a single to left field via third base on a 2-1 change and Albert Pujols hit his second home run of the game on a belt-high 1-2 fastball from Taylor Jordan that ended up in the Red Porch seats. Two-run HR. No. 500 of his career. 6-2 Angels. Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar hit back-to-back singles one out later to put two on with one out, but David Freese K'd swinging with Aybar running and Jordan got out of a 19-pitch inning with a strike'em out, throw'em out DP. 79 pitches overall. 6-2 Angels.
Taylor Jordan's line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 Ks, 2 HR, 79 P, 57 S, 10/1 GO/FO.
1. Wrapping Up: Craig Stammen needed eight pitches to retire the Angels in top of the sixth after he took over for Taylor Jordan. An 11-pitch seventh had Stammen up to 19 pitches in two scoreless, but the Nationals still trailed 6-2. Nats' lefty Jerry Blevins gave up a one-out double by Erick Aybar in the seventh. Aybar stole third and scored on a sac fly to give the Angels a 5-run lead, at 7-2. Aaron Barrett worked a scoreless top of the ninth. But the Nationals couldn't come back in the bottom of the inning.
Nationals now 11-10