Blanton's complete 180 backed by relentless bats
Angels starter rebounds with five scoreless innings; Cowgill clubs three-run homer
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Joe Blanton had a much better day than Rangers starter Alexi Ogando, and it showed in a 12-1 Angels victory on Wednesday at Surprise Stadium.
While Blanton was throwing five scoreless innings, Ogando allowed six runs on five hits and walked two in 3 1/3 innings. Ogando, facing a depleted split-squad lineup, worked around a single in the first inning, then gave up five runs in the second. He now has an 8.64 ERA after three starts.
"Sometimes that happens in baseball," Ogando said. "Most importantly, I feel really good. What happened in that inning, I threw a lot of mistake pitches. But I feel fine."
Blanton's performance -- against a Rangers lineup that included Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre -- was a complete turnaround from his previous start against the Rockies, against whom he allowed seven runs in 3 1/3 innings, including four home runs.
Blanton retired 15 of 16 batters faced. The only hit was an infield single by Michael Choice on a ground ball up the middle that shortstop Grant Green got his glove on but couldn't hold.
"Joe was good," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "He worked very hard with [special assistant to the general manager] Marcel Lachemann on making some adjustments since his last start, and he looked comfortable. He made the pitches he is capable of making."
Collin Cowgill, trying to win a spot on the Angels bench, was 2-for-3 with a three-run home run. Chad Tracy (three RBIs) and J.B. Shuck also advanced their candidacy to make the Opening Day roster with two hits apiece. John McDonald also drove in three runs.
Up next: Garrett Richards gets his third Cactus League start on Thursday, opposite left-hander Jose Quintana, when the Angels host the White Sox at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Richards, who's expected to go five innings and roughly 75 pitches, was hit around by the D-backs five days ago, giving up five runs on eight hits in four innings. Game time is 1:05 p.m. PT and can be seen live on MLB.TV.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.