Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo heads back to the dugout with teammate… (Max Faulkner / McClatchy-Tribune )
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Pitcher C.J. Wilson considers himself "straight edge," a subculture whose adherents refrain from using alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs. Utility player Mark Trumbo would like the Angels to be more hard edge.
Trumbo was fired up after Saturday's 4-2 win over the two-time defending American League-champion Rangers, and not just because he put the Angels ahead with a prodigious two-run homer in the fourth inning.
He loved the way Wilson and four Angels relievers pitched aggressively and fearlessly to baseball's most potent lineup, and the way the Angels bounced back from Friday night's lopsided 10-3 loss.
"That's the way we need to play, with some attitude, because that's how [the Rangers] play," Trumbo said. "If we go into it without that figurative chip on our shoulder, things can get away pretty quickly against a ballclub like that. We need to come out a little angry, to want to take it to them."
Trumbo also loved the way the Angels scrapped on offense, drawing four walks, bunting twice for hits during a key two-run seventh inning, scoring their final two runs on sacrifice flies and winning despite collecting only six hits.
"We're capable of hitting three-run homers, but we're a much better club when we're executing and doing the small things," Trumbo said. "I was just as happy to draw a leadoff walk [in the seventh] as I was to hit the home run."
What a relief
The bullpen, extremely shaky in April, looks a lot stronger with Ernesto Frieri providing dominant relief and demoted closer Jordan Walden regaining his form.
Frieri, acquired from San Diego on May 3, struck out Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre during a one-two-three eighth and got two outs in the ninth Saturday before yielding to left-hander Scott Downs for the final out.
Frieri has faced 16 batters in four appearances, and only three have put the ball in play. He has allowed no hits, struck out nine, walked three and hit a batter. Walden retired the side in order in the seventh Saturday and has retired eight of nine in his last three outings.
"We have two power arms with Jordan throwing the way he can and Ernie coming on board," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's a great complement. If one of them can slot into the ninth inning, we can use Scott as a wild card."
Albert Pujols' eighth-inning walk was his first since April 25, snapping a string of 14 games without a walk.... In addition to handling five pitchers he'd never caught before, John Hester, promoted from triple-A Salt Lake Friday, singled twice in his Angels debut.