The Los Angeles Angels won 6-4 over the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday in Albert Pujols’ hitless debut. Pujols went 0-3 at the plate, grounding out twice with a strike out in between.
Albert Pujols’ spring training debut came 10 days earlier than expected, which was the first time he had seen live pitching since offseason surgery on his right knee. Pujols’ strike out came against the Reds lefthander Aroldis Chapman, who sports a fastball over 100 mph.
Aroldis Chapman began his career as a starter in the minors before being converted into a closer. Chapman recorded 38 saves last season accompanied by an outstanding 1.51 earned run average.
Mike Leake started on the mound for the Reds and pitched three scoreless innings, giving up four hits in the process. Tommy Hanson pitched just two innings for the Angels, allowing one run on three hits. The former Atlanta Braves pitcher was acquired by the Angels this offseason.
Jay Bruce hit two home runs in the loss to the Angels, one to the deepest part of the park in center. Yorman Rodriguez homered for the Reds as well, his second this spring.
Outside of Pujols’ hitless performance, Howie Kendrick hit a solo home run, and Josh Hamilton had two hits. Both Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos had a hit in the 6-4 win also.
The win is only the Angels second this spring in 10 games. Los Angeles takes on the San Diego Padres Thursday while the Reds face off with the Chicago Cubs on Friday. The Reds fell below the Angels to last in the Cactus League with a 2-11 record. The Kansas City Royals are the only undefeated team left this spring with 10 straight victories.
Albert Pujols is currently in the second year of his 10 year, $240 million deal with the Angels. His team added Josh Hamilton’s huge bat to the liking of Angels fans after a disappointing 2012 season.
The Angels failed to make the playoffs after signing Pujols and C.J. Wilson that offseason. Pujols’ hitless debut should be viewed as a good sign going forward for the Angels, who are determined to move past last year’s disappointment into a fresh start this season.