Rookie pitcher tames Giants
SAN FRANCISCO – Sean O’Sullivan won in an impressive big league debut, then received his ticket back to the minors.
He knows he’ll get another chance if he keeps pitching this well.
“It’s been a thrill ride,” said O’Sullivan, who had nine family members and friends make the trip from San Diego on short notice.
Mike Napoli had a three-run homer among his four hits, O’Sullivan pitched seven strong innings and the Los Angeles Angels beat the San Francisco Giants 8-1 on Tuesday night for their season-best fifth straight victory.
“As the game went on and he got ahead of some good hitters, you really saw his ability to keep guys off balance,” manager Mike Scioscia said of O’Sullivan. “It’s great to see a guy like Sean O’Sullivan come up and give us a game like this.”
O’Sullivan (1-0) was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake to make the start after the Angels scratched Ervin Santana because of a strain below his pitching elbow in the forearm area – then O’Sullivan was sent back down afterward as the Angels brought up Rafael Rodriguez to give them another arm.
“I’ll try to build off this,” O’Sullivan said. “You never know when your next opportunity is going to be. I’ll go back to Salt Lake and keep performing.”
The Angels’ first three hits off Jonathan Sanchez (2-7) were doubles, including one by Juan Rivera that put Los Angeles ahead for good in the first. The Angels had 15 hits and have 15 homers, 70 hits and 43 runs during their winning streak.
Scioscia has said he knew his roster had punch, it just took some time to get on a roll.
“All of us are going up there and feeding off each other,” Napoli said. “One guy’s doing it and the others are following. We have a lot of good hitters on this team and we’re showing now what we’re able to do.”
Bobby Abreu hit a pair of RBI singles for Los Angeles, which improved to 7-1 in interleague play.
The Angels did it without center fielder Torii Hunter. He sat out a day after bruising his ribs when he crashed into the wall trying to catch a double by Bengie Molina. Scioscia hopes Hunter will return Friday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Sanchez lost his third straight start and sixth in his last nine outings, getting knocked out after giving up a season-high 10 hits and seven runs in his shortest start of the year. Justin Miller relieved and retired all seven batters he faced.
Nate Schierholtz hit a seventh-inning sacrifice fly for the Giants, who lost only their second home series all season and their first in four series since dropping three of four to the New York Mets from May 14-17. San Francisco second baseman Matt Downs also was called up to make his big league debut. He went 0-for-3 with a walk batting eighth, lining out to center to end the game.
“He probably wasn’t intimidated at all being up there,” Downs said of O’Sullivan. “The way he threw it didn’t look like it.”
Pablo Sandoval singled in the second for San Francisco’s first hit off O’Sullivan and a career-best 10-game hitting streak, but the first baseman also committed three errors in the first three innings – including two on Izturis’ chopper to start the third. Abreu singled home Izturis moments later for a 2-0 Angels’ lead.
“That’s probably more an aberration than anything,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’ll play third base tomorrow.”
NOTES: Of the Angels’ 70 hits during this run, 33 have been for extra bases. … RHP Kelvim Escobar (shoulder) went back on the Angels’ 15-day DL but is expected to be ready to pitch in relief come Monday when he’s eligible to be activated. … Los Angeles reliever Scot Shields underwent season-ending surgery on his left knee. The team expects Shields to resume baseball activities in about six months. … The Giants optioned 2B Emmanuel Burriss to Triple-A Fresno to work on his offense.