Angels' Chris Iannetta rounds first after a two-run home run off Chicago… (Mark Duncan / Associated…)
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Angels’ pitching has been spotty all spring, but with a week to go before the April 1 season opener at Cincinnati, the offense is hitting its stride.
Chris Iannetta and Alberto Callaspo each hit two-run home runs, and Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Peter Bourjos had two hits each Monday to lead the Angels to an 11-5 exhibition victory over the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch.
The Angels, who are averaging 6.7 runs per game, banged out 18 hits, 10 of them in the first three innings against right-hander Gavin Floyd, Chicago’s No. 3 starter. After Iannetta’s home run, his second of the spring, to center field in the second inning, Pujols and Hamilton sparked a four-run third inning with singles.
Mark Trumbo laced a two-run double to right field but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit to a triple. Howie Kendrick singled, and Callaspo followed with a home run to right field.
“We’ve seen the offensive chemistry build as Albert and Josh have gotten at-bats and seen the ball better, and Erick Aybar has gotten back” from the World Baseball Classic, Manager Mike Scioscia said. “It’s been fun to watch.”
Scioscia was also encouraged by the baserunning of Pujols, who is recovering from right knee surgery and dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot but looked sound going from first base to third base on Hamilton’s third-inning single to right.
“I don’t know if he’s 100%, but there’s no doubt the last couple days are the best he’s run this spring,” Scioscia said. “That’s encouraging.”
Kevin Jepsen and Sean Burnett looked good in their relief innings, Jepsen giving up a leadoff single and retiring the next three batters and Burnett retiring three batters and walking one.
Mitch Stetter, a sidearm-throwing left-hander who was considered a longshot to make the team because of a back injury that sidelined him for much of the spring, enhanced his chances by retiring cleanup batter Adam Dunn on a fly to right field and striking out Paul Konerko to end the sixth inning.
Stetter and right-hander David Carpenter are battling for the final bullpen spot, but Stetter might be a more attractive option during the first trip to Cincinnati and Texas because the Reds have three left-handed hitters — Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Shin-Soo Choo — and the Rangers have four — David Murphy, A.J. Pierzynski, Mitch Moreland and Leonys Martin.
Stetter, who has made 132 appearances for the Milwaukee Brewers, has held left-handed hitters to a .194 average in 202 plate appearances.
“He’s a guy left-handers don’t seem to see very well. He’s had good numbers against lefties his whole career,” Scioscia said. “He brings a situational component that could add depth to the bullpen.”
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