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Angels' Trumbo, Bourjos provide a storm of power, speed

First baseman Mark Trumbo has a home run and four RBIs while center fielder Peter Bourjos scores twice and doubles in a run in a 7-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

August 04, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna

Slugger Mark Trumbo and speedster Peter Bourjos have been dubbed "Thunder and Lightning," and the youngsters joined forces to whip up a perfect storm for the Angels on Thursday night.

Trumbo hit another prodigious three-run home run, a third-inning blast into the back bullpen in left field that traveled an estimated 432 feet, just two nights after sending a 457-foot shot into the rock pile beyond the center-field wall.

Bourjos advanced two bases on grounders that didn't leave the infield, scoring from second on Jeff Mathis' infield single to the second-base hole in the second inning and going from first to third on Mathis' tapper to the third-base side of the mound in the fourth.

The bash-and-dash attack backed another superb effort by Dan Haren, who gave up one run and five hits in eight innings to lead the Angels to a 7-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

" Vernon [Wells], Bobby [Abreu], myself, we're still trying to find it," right fielder Torii Hunter said of the three struggling middle-of-the-order veterans. "Our young guys, Trumbo, Bourjos and [closer Jordan] Walden, are keeping us afloat."

Actually, they're keeping the Angels well above water. The Angels rank 10th or below in the American League in runs, homers, on-base percentage and slugging, but they're a league-best 30-15 since June 13 and have won 12 of their last 14 series.

They improved to 61-51 Thursday and are one game behind Texas in the AL West. Quiet before Sunday's non-waiver trade deadline, the Angels are still in position to make some pennant-race noise in September.

"It's been a weird year," Hunter said. "People were writing us off because we didn't get anything done at the [trade] deadline. People think we're not playing well, but we are playing well. It's there in the small print."

It's there in the aggressive way the Angels, especially Bourjos, run the bases. After scoring on the infield single in the second, Bourjos beat out a bunt single to lead off the third and raced to third on a slow roller that traveled about 20 feet.

"Typical tapper in front of the mound and he goes first to third," Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire said of Bourjos. "I mean, really. I'd like to watch the video. I don't think he went to second. I think he went across the mound. That's how quick he got there."

It's there in the way the Angels play defense, killing rallies as they did in the eighth inning Thursday, when Bourjos made a strong one-hop throw home from center field and Mathis blocked the plate to cut down Danny Valencia, who was trying to score on Tsuyoshi Nishioka's single.

There have also been plenty of large-print achievements, most notably the dominant performances of pitchers Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana and Haren, who improved to 12-6 and lowered his earned-run average to 2.81 Thursday night.

After a rough two-start stretch in which he gave up 11 earned runs and 19 hits in 102/3 innings, Haren has given up three earned runs and 14 hits in 242/3 innings of his last three games against Cleveland, Detroit and Minnesota.

"The last three games have been exceptional, but this is the way Dan can pitch," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Minnesota scored 11 runs [Wednesday] night and he shut them down. He's had a couple of tough games, but he's been as good as anybody in our league."

And then there is Trumbo, the 25-year-old first baseman who leads the Angels with 21 homers and 62 runs batted in. He also leads AL rookies in those categories, as well as hits (91), doubles (20), runs (45) and total bases (178).

Trumbo has driven in at least one run with each of his last 10 hits, and he has 10 homers and 33 RBIs in his last 38 games.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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