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José Soriano dominates for 8 innings in Angels’ victory over Diamondbacks

Soriano takes a shutout into the eighth, facing the minimum 21 hitters through the first seven innings in an 8-3 win. The 25-year-old converted reliever has a 3.48 ERA after 12 starts.

Angels starting pitcher José Soriano throws to the plate during the first inning of their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night in Phoenix. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Angels starting pitcher José Soriano throws to the plate during the first inning of their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night in Phoenix. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Associate mug of Jeff Fletcher, Angels reporter, sports.

Date shot: 09/26/2012 . Photo by KATE LUCAS /  ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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PHOENIX — Typically, any pitcher who can throw 101 mph is going to pile up strikeouts, which can be a blessing and a curse, because of the way they crank up a pitch count.

Jose Soriano, however, is showing that his high velocity comes with pitch efficiency, because his triple-digit fastballs are sinkers, which produce one ground ball after another.

Soriano dominated for eight innings in the Angels’ 8-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night, inducing 12 ground balls and four double plays on his way to getting 24 outs with just 97 pitches.

“He throws 98, 99, 100 miles an hour, and if you get an opportunity to see the movement on his sinker, you see why (he gets so many ground balls),” Manager Ron Washington said. “They swing at it in one spot. By the time they hit it, it went down to another spot. That’s why he gets the ground balls. He had his knuckle curveball working tonight. He had his split working. He was just on his game tonight.”

Soriano faced the minimum 21 hitters through seven innings, and he was ultimately charged with two runs – one that scored after he was out of the game – on four hits, with five strikeouts and two walks.

Washington said Soriano’s performance on Wednesday was the best of his 12 major league starts, and the 25-year-old right-hander agreed.

“Basically everything was working well,” Soriano said through an interpreter. “I was trying to minimize pitches for every batter.”

The Diamondbacks, who came into the game ranked eighth in the majors in runs per game, agreed.

“Their starting pitcher was pretty good,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “You’ve got to maybe sometimes, every once in a while, tip your cap to that type of performance.”

Arizona right fielder Jake McCarthy, who grounded out in two of his three at-bats, said Soriano’s sinker was impressive.

“You’d find the barrel and it would go straight into the ground,” McCarthy said. “It seemed like whenever we got something going, he got out of it with a double play. I think it made his other pitches work better because we were so keyed in on the fastball. He had a good day. And he was in the zone, too, really, it’s not like we were doing a ton of chasing.”

Soriano lost his bid for a shutout when he allowed a solo homer to lead off the eighth, but he then struck out three of the next four batters to get out of the inning.

Washington then gave him a chance to get the Angels’ first complete game of the season. Geraldo Perdomo hit a sharp comebacker that Soriano could only deflect back toward the plate, allowing Perdomo to reach with an infield single.

Washington then pulled Soriano, who was charged with a second run after left-hander Matt Moore gave up a two-run homer.

Soriano has made good on the Angels’ decision to move him from the bullpen, producing a 3.48 ERA in 72⅓ innings.

Many young starters, even those who are successful, begin their careers by having trouble getting deep into games. Soriano, though, has proven to be pitch efficient because of his sinker.

He’s worked at least six innings in seven of his 12 starts, even though he has still not thrown 100 pitches.

Soriano has struck out just 20.3% of the hitters he’s faced, which is less than the major league average. His ratio of 1.6 ground outs per fly out, however, is well above the major league average.

While Soriano was cruising through” the Diamondbacks’ lineup, the Angels were pounding Arizona pitching to provide a healthy cushion.

Jo Adell blasted a 434-foot, three-run homer in the fourth to put the Angels ahead 6-0.

Zach Neto hit his eighth homer of the season and barely missed his ninth. In the sixth inning, he hit a drive to center field that was initially ruled a two-run homer. Upon review, umpires determined the ball hit just below the line, so Neto settled for an RBI double.

Neto has hit .289 with eight homers and an .855 OPS over 161 plate appearances since April 22.

“I’m feeling good at the plate right now, just like a bunch of guys are,” Neto said. “Trying to get over that hump to change this around.”

Originally Published:

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