WASHINGTON — Raul Ibanez delivered a tiebreaking three-run double as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning on a night that Mike Trout and Bryce Harper went a combined 2 for 8 with zero runs or RBIs in their first matchup as opponents, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Monday.
Los Angeles trailed 1-0 going into the eighth. But Albert Pujols — who went 0 for 5, staying on 498 homers — reached on the first of shortstop Ian Desmond’s two errors in the inning, raising his season total to nine. Later, Erick Aybar’s third hit of the night scored Pujols to even it.
After Tyler Clippard (1-2) walked the bases loaded, Ibanez doubled to left-center.
Fernando Salas (1-0) won with a hitless seventh.
Joe Smith worked the eighth and Ernesto Frieri pitched the ninth to earn his second save, despite allowing Desmond’s leadoff homer. Frieri struck out Denard Span with a man on second to end it.
The 22-year-old Trout, the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year and a two-time MVP runner-up, was 2 for 5 with a pair of singles. The 21-year-old Harper, the 2012 NL rookie honoree, was 0 for 3 with a walk. The two outfielders became pals while teammates in the Arizona Fall League in 2011 and chatted with each other before the game.
Neither recent first-round pick in the amateur draft — Trout was No. 25 overall in 2009, Harper was No. 1 a year later — was much of a factor once play began, though. Instead, it was the 41-year-old Ibanez, taken in the 36th round in 1992, who came through in a key spot, producing his first pinch-hit RBIs with the Angels, his fifth club in 19 seasons.
All four runs allowed by Clippard were unearned.
The Nationals had gone ahead 1-0 in the fourth, when Garrett Richards suddenly lost his command. He had two walks, a wild pitch and a hit-by-pitch, plunking Jayson Werth on the left elbow to load the bases with no outs. Adam LaRoche’s grounder brought home a run in exchange for an out.
Anthony Rendon then hit a short chopper that first baseman Pujols barehanded and threw home in time to let catcher Chris Iannetta tag Harper for the second out. And Desmond grounded out to end the threat.
Richards gave up only that run and one hit in six innings. Washington’s Tyler Roark allowed seven hits in 6 2-3 scoreless innings.
The Angels outhit the Nationals 12-3.
NOTES: Angels 3B David Freese, who is hitting .143 with a .197 on-base percentage, was out of the starting lineup and struck out as a pinch hitter in the seventh. “Just trying to give him a little breather and trying to get him to maybe decompress a little bit,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “Long term, he’s going to have a terrific season.” Said Freese: “Just lack of discipline at the dish, trying to do too much.” … Before the game, the Angels recalled LHP Nick Maronde from Triple-A Salt Lake. He fills the roster spot opened up when the Angels optioned RHP Josh Wall to Salt Lake on Sunday. … Nationals C Wilson Ramos is “right on schedule; maybe a little bit ahead, actually” as he recovers from surgery on a broken bone in his left wrist, manager Matt Williams said. Ramos went on the disabled list after getting injured on opening day and was expected to be out one to two months. … Angels LHP Sean Burnett (15-day DL, left elbow) threw a second bullpen session and the next step in his recovery from surgery will be pitching in a simulated game time.
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