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OC Register: Nationals use three home runs to halt Angels’ winning streak at three

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ANAHEIM ― Angels pitcher Michael Lorenzen is not a familiar opponent to most American League teams. Prior to this season, he was a hybrid reliever-slash-outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds, a power arm who could throw a strike from the outfield or from the pitcher’s mound.

The Washington Nationals had seen Lorenzen plenty before he started for the Angels on Saturday. It seemed to play to their favor. Lorenzen allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings, and the Angels’ three-game winning streak ended in a 7-3 loss before an announced crowd of 30,666 at Angel Stadium.

Lorenzen (3-2) allowed solo home runs in each of the first two innings to Josh Bell and Yadiel Hernandez, respectively. In the fifth inning, he was allowed to pitch to Bell a third time and allowed a single before Maddon removed the right-hander with two outs in the inning.

The next batter, Nelson Cruz, greeted reliever Elvis Peguero with a two-run home run.

In a season defined by diminishing dingers, five home runs were hit Saturday. Cruz’s homer off Peguero put the game out of reach at 6-3, and left Lorenzen with an unsightly pitching line. He walked two batters and allowed five hits, and the five runs he allowed lifted his earned-run average to 4.13.

Peguero allowed another run in the sixth inning before turning the game over to relievers Kyle Barraclough and Jimmy Herget, who didn’t allow a run in the final four frames.

The Angels did all their offensive damage in the fourth inning, on home runs by Jared Walsh (his fifth) and Brandon Marsh (his fourth) against Josiah Gray. The right-hander allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings, walking two batters and striking out three.

Besides the two homers, the Angels failed to capitalize on their seven hits. They went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base.

The rubber match of the three-game series is Sunday. The Angels (18-11) lead the Houston Astros (17-11) by half a game atop the American League West standings.

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