BALTIMORE -- Even though Vladimir Guerrero can't sprint around the basepaths the way he used to, the oft-injured slugger never has any trouble with his home run trot.
How Vlad Came Back
Vladimir Guerrero continued his torrid pace Monday night, homering twice and driving in five runs in the Angels' 8-5 victory in Baltimore. Before July, it was easy to get Guerrero to chase offspeed pitches out of the strike zone (12 K's in 23 AB vs. offspeed out-of-zone pitches). Since then, he's swung and chased at fewer offspeed pitches, which has allowed him to get back to crushing fastballs:
Guerrero In 2009
Before July 1
Since July 1
Chase Pct. vs. Non-FB
HR vs. FB
Slug pct. vs. FB
Guerrero hit two homers and had five RBIs, Kendry Morales and Maicer Izturis also connected, and the Los Angeles Angels pulled away to an 8-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.Guerrero hit a two-run shot in the sixth and a three-run drive in the seventh. He's missed 56 games this season while on the disabled list, but still has 10 home runs in 2009, and 402 for his career."He has played with injury after injury after injury, but he knows how to hit, and he knows how to hit with men on base," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "He doesn't run near as well as he used to, he doesn't move near as well as he used to, but he knows what to do when that bat's in his hand."The score was tied at 2 before the Angels scored three runs in the sixth inning and three in the seventh.Izturis broke the tie with a solo shot off rookie David Hernandez (4-5) in the sixth. Bobby Abreu followed with a single before Guerrero hit a drive over the center-field wall.In the seventh, Cla Meredith walked Chone Figgins and issued a two-out intentional walk to Abreu before the 34-year-old Guerrero homered to center for his 38th career multihomer game.Walk a batter to get to Guerrero? Trembley defended the strategy as a righty vs. righty matchup, and Guerrero didn't argue."I've seen it more this year and I can't blame them because I haven't been right," he said through an interpreter. "When I'm not right, they want to take a chance with me."It turned out to be a bad move, because Guerrero obviously still has plenty of pop in his bat."It's fun to watch them go out of the ballpark, that's for sure," he said. "All you try to do is go out there and put a good swing on the ball."Ervin Santana (6-6) allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings to win his third straight start, and Brian Fuentes got the final out for his 34th save.Los Angeles took three of four from Baltimore to improve to 22-8 since the All-Star break. The Angels have won six of seven overall and 20 of their last 26 on the road."We've been swinging the bats well, and today we combined good starting pitching with driving the ball and we held on," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Great to see Vlad get a hold of a couple, and Izzy. We're at a point right now of trying to settle our pitching, and as we keep moving forward it's important for the offense to keep rolling. That's what happened tonight."Nick Markakis hit a solo homer in the sixth inning and Melvin Mora added a two-run drive in the ninth for the last-place Orioles, who fell 22 games under .500 (48-70).After trading first baseman Aubrey Huff to Detroit for a minor leaguer earlier in the day, Baltimore was left with 24 players. Luke Scott received his initial major league start at first base and Markakis filled Huff's usual role as the cleanup hitter.Scott played the position flawlessly in the start of a seven-week experiment to see if he has the defensive prowess to begin the 2010 season as Baltimore's everyday first baseman."Scott looked comfortable over at first," Trembley said. "His footwork was OK holding runners; he knew what he was doing."Two singles and a run-scoring grounder by Adam Jones put Baltimore up 1-0 in the first before Santana struck out Matt Wieters with two outs and runners at second and third.Morales gave Los Angeles a 2-1 lead with his 25th home run, a drive to right after Juan Rivera hit a one-out single.Baltimore tied it in the third on a two-out RBI double by Markakis.
Baltimore signed its second-round draft pick, SS Mychal Givens. Taken with the 54th overall pick, Givens agreed to an $800,000 signing bonus. ... After the game, the Orioles optioned RHP Matt Albers to Triple-A Norfolk. Baltimore will recall RHP Kam Mickolio from the same club on Tuesday. ... Angels CF Torii Hunter was rested after playing 13 innings Sunday in his return from the DL. ... Los Angeles won the season series 7-2. ... It was the first time since April 25 against Texas that Baltimore yielded four homers in a game. ... LA is 28-4 in Guerrero's last 32 games with a homer. ... Markakis extended to 37 his career-best run of games reaching base.