Angels' Albert Pujols hits an RBI double against the Seattle Mariners… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )
It began in Camden Yards on Wednesday with a six-run seventh inning that led to a come-from-behind win over the Baltimore Orioles, it carried through a weekend series against the New York Yankees, and it resumed Monday night against the Seattle Mariners.
The Angels hitters are on a roll, much as they were during an eight-game win streak from May 18-26, and they went on a rampage Monday night in Angel Stadium.
Offensive underachievers for most of the season, the Angels pounded starter Aaron Harang and three relievers for a season-high 21 hits in an 11-3 victory that provided a loud reminder of just how lethal they can be when their bats are clicking.
"I feel strongly about pitching being the heartbeat of our club, but our lineup, one through nine, needs to do more of what we've seen in the last week," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're not going to get 21 hits every night, but we should be able to pressure teams and hopefully support our pitching."
Albert Pujols had four hits, including a run-scoring double in a game-breaking, seven-run sixth inning, to raise his average from .256 to .266, and Alberto Callaspo had four hits, including a two-run single in the sixth, to raise his average from .234 to .250.
Peter Bourjos added three infield singles, two in the sixth inning, and Josh Hamilton hit a two-run home run and a single for the Angels, who were seven for 17 with runners in scoring position. Eleven players had hits, and 18 of the hits were singles.
In winning four of five games, the Angels have hit .370 (67 for 181) and have scored 36 runs, an average of 7.2 a game. They've hit only four home runs, but they've drawn 21 walks, struck out only 29 times and hit .344 (22 for 64) with runners in scoring position.
"We're having great at-bats, swinging at strikes, getting our walks, and sometimes those can be as big as a hit," leadoff batter Mike Trout said. "We're getting on base and giving ourselves a chance to score runs. We're not just hitting home runs, but we're manufacturing runs. That's going to help us a lot."
Trout walked and scored his 200th career run in the sixth inning, making him the fastest player to 200 runs — it took him 249 games — since 1940, when Ted Williams reached 200 runs in his 225th game and Barney McCosky reached it in his 236th game.
The Angels built such a large lead that Scioscia was able to pull Trout in the sixth after Trout, who had played every inning of every game, leaped over Michael Morse to avoid the Mariners first baseman who was reaching for an errant throw, a play on which the final two runs in the inning scored.
"Those were the first three innings I've had off all year," said Trout, who came out of the play unscathed. "It felt like a day off."
The 35th 20-hit game in franchise history provided a huge cushion for left-hander Jason Vargas, who gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings and had a season-high nine strikeouts to improve to 6-4.
"Jason had great tempo, he set the tone, he did a great job of changing speeds and had good command of both sides of the plate," Scioscia said. "His ability to move the fastball in and out gave him a nice window to throw his changeup."