An­gels lower the boom, boom, boom

Trout, Cowart and Cron homer in seven-run third in­ning, and Ramirez is strong on mound.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - pe­dro.moura@la­times.com Twit­ter: @pe­dro­moura By Pe­dro Moura

Eight years ago, the Philadel­phia Phillies ac­quired a young, po­ten­tial-filled righthander named JC Ramirez in a trade for Cliff Lee, an ace starter they had ac­quired four months be­fore in failed pur­suit of play­off glory.

Four years later, Ramirez reached the big leagues in a Phillies uni­form, but only for 18 games, and he was no good in them. They let him sign else­where as a free agent that win­ter, and so be­gan his whirl­wind tour of teams: on to Cleve­land, Ari­zona, Seat­tle, Cincin­nati and, last year, the An­gels.

In 2017, he is putting to­gether the best sea­son of his ca­reer. And never has he been bet­ter than against his old team Wed­nes­day at Angel Sta­dium: He fired eight shutout in­nings in the An­gels’ 7-0 thrash­ing of the Phillies.

“I made my­self proud,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez had never lasted un­til the eighth in­ning in 20 pre­vi­ous starts, all as an Angel this sea­son. The Phillies had given up on his start­ing po­ten­tial in 2011; none of his new teams con­sid­ered it, un­til the An­gels last Septem­ber. His fu­ture may still lie in the bullpen. But in a sea­son mired by in­juries, Ramirez’s rel­a­tive sta­bil­ity has been es­sen­tial to the An­gels’ re­main­ing play­off re­sults.

“JC just keeps go­ing,” An­gels man­ager Mike Scios­cia said. “He just keeps do­ing it. He’s gonna make his pitch­ing and live with the re­sults.”

He walked the first man he faced Wed­nes­day, An­gels tar­get Ce­sar Her­nan­dez, and al­lowed him to steal sec­ond. But he pitched out of that and three sin­gles he sur­ren­dered over the next two in­nings. He did not let a man on base in the fourth or fifth in­nings.

Come the sixth, when he has rou­tinely tired this sea­son, Ramirez gave up two sin­gles. With two outs, he in­duced a popup to es­cape.

Wield­ing wors­en­ing com­mand come the eighth, he is­sued his sec­ond and fi­nal walk. An­other Her­nan­dez sin­gle fol­lowed, this time with one out. Pitch­ing coach Charles Nagy vis­ited the mound and re­minded Ramirez of a cen­tral tenet to his style. “Just smile and throw the ball,” Nagy told him.

“That’s what I did,” Ramirez said.

Af­ter two fly­outs, he was done, his 10th win se­cured, his 2017 earned-run av­er­age down to 4.03.

All of the An­gels’ of­fense came within a 20-minute, third-in­ning burst. Catcher Martin Mal­don­ado dou­bled to begin the in­ning and soon scored on a Philadel­phia er­ror. Mike Trout then de­posited a ball into the trees be­hind the cen­ter-field wall for a two-run home run.

The An­gels did not re­lent. Al­bert Pu­jols sin­gled, took sec­ond on a Luis Val­buena ground­out, and scored on an An­drel­ton Sim­mons sin­gle.

Pu­jols slowed while round­ing third un­til coach Ron Roenicke gave a sur­pris­ing sign to try for home. He evaded the er­rant throw.

C.J. Cron next pounced on a hang­ing slider, crush­ing it about 443 feet for a tworun homer. That made it 6-0. Kaleb Cowart’s sub­se­quent shot made it 7-0, and gave the An­gels their first three­homer in­ning of the sea­son.

Mal­don­ado nearly made it four, but his drive bounced off of the wall for a dou­ble. He be­came the first man in the ma­jors this sea­son to dou­ble twice in an in­ning.

The An­gels (53-55) are only three games be­hind Kansas City for a wild-card spot.

They are also win­ners of 11 straight games against the Phillies, ty­ing the longestever in­ter­league win streak for any team against any op­po­nent.

Mark J. Terrill As­so­ci­ated Press

BALL-HUN­GRY fans don’t ap­pear to bother An­gels right fielder Ra­mon Flores, who catches a foul ball hit by Philadel­phia’s Cameron Rupp on Wed­nes­day.

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