ANAHEIM — Shane Bieber pitched seven stellar innings of five-hit ball in his first career start at his hometown stadium, and rookie Yu Chang hit his first major league homer in the Cleveland Indians’ 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.
Bieber (14-7), the Indians’ All-Star right-hander, is an Orange County native who graduated from high school in nearby Laguna Hills, California. He had dozens of raucous fans repeatedly chanting his name from a section behind the visitors’ dugout at the Big A, and the All-Star Game MVP struck out eight Angels without a walk while allowing only one run for the first time since July.
Bieber retired 17 of his final 18 hitters, and his cheering section serenaded him with “Let’s go, Bieber!” chants throughout the night. He even took a road curtain call after finishing the seventh inning with his eighth consecutive out.
Chang hit a three-run homer and Jason Kipnis had a two-run shot for the Indians (84-61), who pulled right behind Oakland (84-60) for the second AL wild-card spot with their first back-to-back wins in September.
Albert Pujols hit his 655th homer and two-way prospect Jared Walsh added his first career homer for the Angels, who opened their penultimate homestand with their sixth loss in eight games.
Mike Trout sat out his second straight game with pain in his right foot for the Angels (67-78), who dropped 17 ½ games behind the A’s with 17 games to play. Los Angeles is one loss away from guaranteeing it will miss the postseason for the fifth consecutive season of Trout’s prime.
The game matched two local pitchers who graduated from high schools 2 miles apart. Bieber is two years older than 22-year-old Patrick Sandoval (0-3), who was born and raised in Mission Viejo.
The Angels are keeping Sandoval on a pitch count, and he was pulled with one out in the fourth inning after he gave up a single to Kipnis on his 61st pitch. Sandoval yielded five hits and three runs.
After Yasiel Puig drove in his 77th run during the first inning, Kipnis connected in the second for his 17th homer.
Later in the second, Bieber became the 422nd pitcher to give up a homer to Pujols, the 39-year-old veteran with two years left on his $240 million contract.
Walsh, a 26-year-old first baseman who hit 36 homers for Triple-A Salt Lake this season, connected in the eighth. Walsh also pitched in 13 games for the Bees.
Chang, the 16th Taiwan-born player in major league history, delivered his three-run shot in the sixth. The 24-year-old infield prospect is filling in for injured third baseman José Ramírez, who broke his hand last month. Chang is the fourth Taiwanese player to homer in the majors.
Indians: Puig and Oscar Mercado were both in the lineup after running into each other in the outfield in Minnesota on Sunday. Puig made the catch, and both stayed in that game after the dangerous collision.
Angels: Trout had a cryoablation procedure to deaden the tissue around the irritated nerve in his foot, manager Brad Ausmus said. The slugger could return later in the series.
Angels rookie José Suárez (2-5, 6.45 ERA) takes another shot at his first home victory when he faces fellow rookie Zach Plesac (7-6, 9.38 ERA), who is coming off a rough loss to the White Sox.