ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — For Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter, the best seat in the house was right in front of the television in the visiting clubhouse.
Nick Markakis hit a two-run single in the eighth inning and a run-scoring single in the 10th to help the Orioles beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 on Sunday, after Showalter was ejected in the sixth for arguing balls and strikes.
“Those were big hits by Nicky with a lot of adversity there,” Showalter said. “I mean, I could feel the players’ and the team’s anxiety by what was going on out on the field. It shows we can certainly win without me around.”
Angels right-hander Dan Haren threw 73 of his 115 pitches for strikes, several of which didn’t sit well with Showalter, who was run by umpire Angel Campos after Markakis fell behind 0-1 in the count. Markakis eventually was called out on strikes to end the sixth.
“That was a fastball down and in, and it got a lot of the plate,” Haren said. “(Showalter) was upset about the first pitch, but it caught the corner away. I heard him chirping from the dugout, and I knew he was going to get tossed when he came out.”
Showalter’s ejection was the 20th of his career and first this season.
“When you share your players’ frustration, you can feel it in the dugout,” Showalter said after the Orioles avoided a three-game sweep. “I mean, there was so much focus on the strike zone, it was taking away from the competition. And when you have the number of people we had complaining that don’t ever complain, sometimes you have to take that bullet.”
Angels reliever LaTroy Hawkins (0-1) came on in the 10th and immediately walked No. 9 hitter Robert Andino, who advanced on a sacrifice by Endy Chavez and a groundout by J.J. Hardy. Markakis then grounded a hard single up the middle that deflected off the glove of second baseman Howie Kendrick and into center field.
“I feel like I’m comfortable at the plate, but things just weren’t coming,” Markakis said. “But it’s a long season and it’s still early. So you’ve just got to go out there with the same attitude and don’t let things bother you, whatever it is. And if you do that, this game will reward you.”
Pedro Strop (2-1) pitched two innings for the win despite allowing a tying solo homer in the eighth by Kendrick. Jim Johnson got three outs for his seventh save.
Haren was charged with two runs and six hits over 7 1/3 innings and struck out eight in his fourth start. The three-time All-Star, still looking for his first victory, took a 1-0 lead into the eighth before giving up one-out singles by pinch-hitter Matt Wieters and Andino.
Chavez greeted lefty Scott Downs with a bloop single on an 0-2 pitch, loading the bases, before Downs turned Hardy’s comebacker into a force at the plate. But the left-hander fell behind Markakis 2-0 and Markakis put the Orioles ahead 2-1 with a two-run single through the left side of the infield — his first two RBIs in a span of 37 at-bats.
“Nick’s been sick as a dog the last two days,” Showalter said. “During BP yesterday, I was an eraser away from changing the lineup — and I’m sure he didn’t feel a whole lot better today. He wouldn’t let us take his temperature, hardly, and he’s been scuffling. A lot of guys would have bailed, but that’s Nick Markakis. He’d be in there whether or not he played for an organization that Cal Ripken played for.”
Kendrick pulled the Angels even in the bottom half with his one-out opposite-field homer to right, the first by the Angels in a span of 42 innings and just their second home run in 58 innings. It also ended a string of 36 straight homerless innings by Baltimore pitchers.
Wei-Yin Chen held the Angels to a run and five hits over 6 1/3 innings and struck out five in his third major league start. The Taiwanese left-hander was lifted by bench coach John Russell after giving up a pair of one-out walks.
“We’re still learning about him,” Showalter said. “Today the command was the thing. And quite frankly, he didn’t get the benefit of a lot of borderline calls like Haren was getting, but he worked his way through that. When you’re facing a guy like Haren with the strike zone that he’s working with, you’re going to have to be really good. And he was.”
Albert Pujols was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and remained homerless in his 16 games and 65 at-bats, the longest drought from the start of a season in his 12-year career. He started as the designated hitter for the first time since joining the Angels.
NOTES: Pujols is 18 for 54 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 13 career games as a DH, including 12 interleague contests with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Orioles finished their road trip 6-4, marking the first time that won more than they lost during a 10-game trip since September 2004.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)