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Angels stay hot, beat Justin Verlander and the Tigers, 6-1

They score four in the first inning and C.J. Wilson outduels him the rest of the way.

September 08, 2012|By Lance Pugmire
  • Angels center fielder Mike Trout bumps fists with first baseman Albert Pujols after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Tigers on Saturday night.
Angels center fielder Mike Trout bumps fists with first baseman Albert… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )

Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander limited 20 of his first 28 opponents to three runs or less.

The surging Angels on Saturday racked the American League’s reigning Cy Young Award winner for four runs in the first inning, and left-hander C.J. Wilson outdueled him in a 6-1 victory.

The Angels (76-63) have won 14 of their last 17 games and remain two games out of the American League’s second wild-card spot with 23 games remaining.

Rookie Mike Trout, in his first at-bat against Verlander, started the first by smoking a home run deep over the left-field wall -- Trout’s 26th homer of the season.

Trout then ended the game by robbing his fourth home run of the season, a towering blast to center field hit by Detroit slugger Prince Fielder, eliciting cheers of "MVP!"

Following the Trout homer and a walk in the first, Kendrys Morales and Howie Kendrick each doubled, and with two outs, Vernon Wells touched Verlander for a double off the wall in right-center for a 4-0 lead.

Morales doubled again in the third, his fifth hit in his first six at-bats in the series, scoring Albert Pujols after his leadoff double. Pujols had three hits Saturday.

This was heady stuff, considering Verlander (13-8) started the night leading the American League in batting average against (.212) and complete games, ranking second in strikeouts and third in earned-run average.

Yet, by the fourth inning, Verlander had surrendered eight hits, trailed 6-1 and was without Trout’s Most Valuable Player rival, third baseman Miguel Cabrera.

Cabrera was ejected by plate umpire Tim Timmons after continuing a complaint that started at home plate when Timmons called a 2-1 pitch from Wilson strike two.

Cabrera’s extended dispute at the plate brought a visit by Detroit’s on-deck hitter Prince Fielder and Tigers Manager Jim Leyland. Cabrera went back to bat, and grounded into a double play.

A few more choice words were uttered after Fielder struck out, and Timmons ejected both Cabrera and Detroit third base coach Gene Lamont.

Timmons was only behind home plate because original plate umpire Jeff Kellogg had his head jarred by a foul ball hit off his mask by Angels right fielder Torii Hunter in the second inning.

Verlander hasn’t won on the road since a July 15 victory at Baltimore. The outing was his second-worst of the season, after giving up eight earned runs at Kansas City August 28.

Wilson (12-9) gave up only an unearned run in the fourth set up by a throwing error by third baseman Maicer Izturis, who would leave the game in the inning with tightness in his rib cage.

Otherwise, Wilson struck out six and gave up four hits in 7 2/3 innings, aided by two double-play grounders and a sprinting catch in left-center by Wells with two Tigers on base in the sixth.

Wilson then struck out Cabrera’s replacement, Jhonny Peralta, to close the sixth, proceeding to his third consecutive victory after a two-month winless skid.

Lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter.com/latimespugmire  

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