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MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Angels snap losing streak against Orioles

Howie Kendrick finishes with three hits and drives in three runs on a double in the sixth inning as the Angels defeat Baltimore, 6-3.

April 20, 2012|By Lance Pugmire

After matching the worst start in team history with the expansion Angels of 1961, this far richer version opened its series against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday trying to end a record four lost series to open the season.

"The talent in this team is real, it will come to the forefront," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said before the game.

On cue, Howie Kendrick and Jerome Williams did their part in a 6-3 victory over the Orioles that ended the Angels' losing streak at three games.

Kendrick doubled twice, knocked in three runs and scored once, and Williams (1-1) struck out six in six-plus innings.

"Tonight's a start," Kendrick said.

While another night passed without the first home run by Albert Pujols -- 58 at-bats and counting after going 0-for-4 with a walk -- the more pressing task of winning was accomplished.

"We got some bunts down, hit with guys in scoring position," Scioscia said. "Little ball and timely hitting, that has to be the fabric of your offense."

And closer Jordan Walden successfully converted his first save opportunity by pitching a scoreless ninth.

The Angels (5-9) jumped on Baltimore starter Brian Matusz for a 2-0 first-inning lead with doubles by Kendrick, Torii Hunter and Mark Trumbo, who started in left field.

Matusz (0-3) has lost 12 consecutive decisions since June 6, 2011, the longest active streak in the majors.

Angels' No. 9 batter Alberto Callaspo reached safely in the second on the first of three Oriole errors, a two-out miscue that was followed by Kendrick's run-scoring single.

Matusz was lifted after walking two Angels to load the bases again in the sixth.

Kendrick made the Orioles pay again, driving a pitch from reliever Darren O'Day to the gap in right-center for a two-run double. Another run crossed on center fielder Adam Jones' errant throw.

Williams (1-1) was up, 6-1, in the seventh, blemished only by a run-scoring single by J.J. Hardy in the third.

The Angels let Williams exceed the 100-pitch barrier to try and end the frame against Baltimore leadoff hitter Nolan Reimold, but Reimold bashed Williams' 102nd pitch over the wall in left-center for a two-run home run that made it 6-3.

Kendrick said the consistency of good at-bats without home runs carried the night, even if Pujols smacked his hands in disappointment after not removing the monkey of that first blast from his back on a deep drive that left fielder Reimold caught with his back to the wall.

Hunter said Pujols can be forgiven for an early homerless stretch as he transitions to the American League.

"He doesn't know any of these pitchers," Hunter said. "I'm the scouting report."

Trumbo's quest for more at-bats stalled with three first-week errors playing third base.

He started in left field, and Scioscia said he looked "comfortable, we'll see when we can fit him in."

After looping an RBI double to left field and lining a single to center in the third, Trumbo is batting .391.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimespugmire

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