Kemp’s HR, Garcia’s Gem Not Enough vs. Halos

Eric Young Jr. launched a go-ahead homer off Arodys Vizcaino in the eighth inning to lift the Angels to a 2-1 win on Wednesday night, clinching a series victory over the Braves at Angel Stadium.

With the game tied at 1, Young blasted a 2-1 fastball to right-center field for his first home run of the season. Young, who was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday after Mike Trout was placed on the disabled list, had not homered in the Majors since May 12, 2014, when he was with the Mets. Young is batting .455 (5-for-11) with a homer, a double and two stolen bases since his call-up.
“At the plate, he’s a tough little out,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He showed he can put a charge into a fastball tonight. Any time a player perseveres like EY does and they get an opportunity, it’s great to see them achieve. He gave us a big lift tonight.”
Matt Kemp’s one-out single off closer Bud Norris put the tying run on first for the Braves in the ninth, but Norris induced a groundout from Tyler Flowers and struck out Rio Ruiz swinging to earn his 10th of save the year.
Angels slugger Albert Pujols, who entered Wednesday with 599 career home runs, is still searching for No. 600, as he finished 1-for-4 with a bloop single to center field in the fourth. With his 2,874th career hit, Pujols moved past Babe Ruth to take sole possession of 44th place on the all-time list.
Both clubs were kept quiet for much of the night, as Braves left-hander Jaime Garcia and Angels right-hander Jesse Chavez engaged in a classic pitchers’ duel through seven innings. Garcia allowed one unearned run on five hits while walking three and striking out two, while Chavez yielded one run on five hits while walking one and striking out four. Both pitchers came away with no-decisions.
It was a bounceback outing for Chavez, who allowed five runs and lasted only 3 2/3 innings in his last start against the Marlins on Friday. The 33-year-old veteran said he studied video of his rocky start in Miami and made a series of minor adjustments, including altering his foot placement on the rubber, that he believed helped him get back on track on Wednesday.
“For me to miss spots that bad the last few starts up until today was really head-scratching, because that’s normally not me,” Chavez said. “I’m normally able to make that adjustment in between pitches and things like that. But we hammered out this last bullpen about placement and direction. Today was a good step.”
Garcia’s performance saw his run of scoreless innings finally come to an end after 18 2/3 frames, but Atlanta manager Brian Snitker thought the outing “was really good” despite the final outcome.
“[That’s] what I’d expect out of him,” he said. “Just been more consistent and throwing the ball really well.”
Kemp led off the second with his 10th homer of the season, putting the Braves ahead, 1-0. Kemp went ahead in the count, 2-0, before hammering a 92 mph fastball from Chavez to right field. The blast had an exit velocity of 105 mph and traveled a projected 396 feet, according to Statcastâ„¢. It was Kemp’s second homer in as many games. More >
After being shut out by Garcia over the first six innings, the Angels finally got on the board in the seventh with the help of a defensive miscue by third baseman Ruiz. With runners on first and second and one out, Shane Robinson bounced a grounder to Ruiz, who stepped on third for the forceout, but then uncorked a throw that skipped past first baseman Jace Peterson, allowing Danny Espinosa to score the tying run from first. Robinson advanced to third on the play, but Garcia coaxed a groundout from Cliff Pennington to end the inning, preserving the 1-1 tie.
Atlanta will begin the final series of its nine-game road trip when it visits the Reds. Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (3-5, 4.44 ERA) will take the mound, seeking to bounce back from his latest outing against the Giants, in which he allowed five runs on seven hits, including two home runs, and a walk in four innings. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.