DETROIT (AP) — Albert Pujols hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly to cap a four-run fifth inning and the Los Angeles Angels added six runs in the seventh, routing the Detroit Tigers 11-4 on Thursday.
JC Ramirez (6-4) gave up four runs – allowing the Tigers to take an early 4-1 lead – and 10 hits over five innings.
Michael Fulmer (6-4) allowed five runs on nine hits over 4 1-3 innings. Detroit relievers Arcenio Leon and Daniel Stumpf combined to give up six runs to let the Angels pull away and win the three-game series.
Danny Espinosa had three hits and three RBIs and Andrelton Simmons had three hits and two RBIs for the Angels, who got two runs batted in by C.J. Cron.
Detroit’s Nick Castellanos had three hits, including a solo homer in the second, and two RBIs.
Angels: Manager Mike Scioscia discussed life without two-time MVP Mike Trout, currently on the DL with a left thumb ligament injury.
“It’s a void no doubt, but even with Mike our lineup needed to get deeper,” he said. “We weren’t really firing on all cylinders. Without him, it was paramount that the guys who were struggling get going, and we’re starting to see it with Kole (Calhoun). C.J. Cron is coming back. These guys have to become productive.”
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander threw Thursday under the watchful eye of manager Brad Ausmus and pitching coach Rich Dubee. Verlander left his previous start Sunday with groin tightness, but an MRI came back clean.
He’s expected to start Saturday in Boston, but his status could affect whether catcher James McCann (lacerated left hand) is activated from the DL for Friday’s game.
If Verlander needs to miss a start, Ausmus indicated he might wait a day or two to activate McCann and perhaps make a move to recall a pitcher. McCann had four hits Wednesday off top Pirates pitching prospect Jameson Taillon during a rehab assignment with AAA Toledo.
Ausmus met with Castellanos on Wednesday night to discuss the incident in which Castellanos angrily threw his bat when removed for pinch-runner Andrew Romine in the eighth inning. The helmet accidentally clipped teammate Miguel Cabrera in the head.
“We talked,” Ausmus said. “It’s done. Players throw helmets on almost a daily basis.”
Ausmus was not perturbed by Castellanos’ actions.
“I don’t want him to be happy about being taken out of the game,” Ausmus said. “I don’t want pitchers to be happy when I take them out of the game. I don’t want anyone to be happy about being pinch-hit for, but it’s also part of the game. I was mad when I got pinch-hit for. They’re competitors. You don’t want them to be, ‘Ho hum, you pinch-hit for me.’ You should want the bat in your hands and the ball in your hands.”
Angels: RHP Matt Shoemaker, who is 4-1 in his last five starts, pitches the opener of a three-game set at Houston.
Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann, who is 0-3 on the road this season, opens a weekend series at Boston.
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