Howie Kendrick launched his third home run of the spring, for three third-inning runs off Rockies starter Juan Nicasio, as the Angels led heading into the final frame.Kendrick improved his RBI total to 10. His homer came after singles by Bobby Wilson, playing for the first time since suffering tightness in his quadriceps in both legs March 10, and Erick Aybar.
Angels starting pitcher Ervin Santana, whose last spring start was shortened because he took a line drive off the right shoulder in the second inning, held the Rockies to no runs on two hits and struck out four in four innings."Santana was really sharp," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He used all his pitches and had good fastball command, and great four innings for him. We're excited about that."
The Rockies scored in the sixth when Carlos Gonzalez raced home on a wild pitch by Jason Isringhausen, then Andrew Brown connected for his first spring homer in the eighth, setting the stage for the ninth-inning rally.
Nicasio went five innings and gave up all three of his runs and three of his five hits in the third inning. Nicasio, who has put himself solidly in the running for a rotation spot, finished with four strikeouts, a walk and a hit batter.The Rockies started what could be their Opening Day lineup. The batting order included third baseman Casey Blake, who underwent neck surgery last year while with the Dodgers and had missed seven days with neck muscle soreness. Up next for Rockies: Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin has done fine since his last start, when he was pulled after three innings because of a blister on his pitching index finger. So he will start on Tuesday against the Padres in Peoria at 9:05 p.m. MT. Closer Rafael Betancourt, who gave up four runs in two-thirds of an inning in his last appearance, will have a chance to regain form. The Padres will start Dustin Moseley.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.