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Scott Kazmir sharp in Angels' 10-7 victory over Cardinals

Left-hander, who gives up three hits and three runs in seven innings, retires 17 consecutive St. Louis batters at one point.

May 22, 2010|By Ben Bolch

Reporting from St. Louis -- Whatever adjustments Angels starting pitcher Scott Kazmir made Saturday worked.

In a big way.

The left-hander retired 17 consecutive batters at one point over seven sharp innings to bounce back from a string of subpar starts during the Angels' 10-7 victory over St. Louis at Busch Stadium.

Kazmir came into the game having lost three consecutive starts and confidence in almost every aspect of his pitching -- his dipping velocity, his out-of-whack arm slot and ineffective slider.

All seemed to be back in working order against the Cardinals. Kazmir (3-4) gave up three hits and three runs in matching his longest start of the season.

The Angels' recently retooled batting order rapped out 13 hits, including five doubles and Mike Napoli's two-run homer in the fifth inning. They have homered in nine consecutive games, their longest streak since matching that feat from April 21-30 of last year.

The Angels have won six of nine games since Manager Mike Scioscia inserted Howie Kendrick into the No. 2 slot in the batting order and moved Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter and Kendry Morales each down one spot.

All four batters reached base during the Angels' five-run third inning that was highlighted by Hunter's two-run single to left field, Morales' RBI double over center fielder Colby Rasmus' head and Hideki Matsui's two-run single that nicked off second baseman Felipe Lopez's glove into right field.

Kazmir gave up only one hit over the first six innings, Matt Holliday's homer leading off the second inning.

When David Freese and Colby Rasmus followed with back-to-back walks, it seemed as if Kazmir was reverting to the form that had seen him compile a 7.71 earned-run average over his previous three starts.

But Kazmir got Jason LaRue to fly out and Brendan Ryan to hit a sacrifice fly before striking out Lopez to end the inning.

No Cardinals reached base again until Rasmus drew a two-out walk in the seventh and scored when LaRue hit a bloop single that Abreu overran in right field for an error.

St. Louis added four runs off reliever Bobby Cassevah, pulling to within 10-7 when Lopez's ninth-inning single to right field rolled past Reggie Willits and allowed two baserunners to score.

But Fernando Rodney recorded the final two outs, retiring Joe Mather and Jon Jay in the spots previously occupied by the more feared Ryan Ludwick and Albert Pujols before St. Louis Manager Tony LaRussa removed them in the wake of the Angels' big lead.

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