After a long wait, Puello singled in go-ahead run for Angels

Los Angeles Angels' Cesar Puello, bottom, steals third base against Baltimore Orioles' Manny Machado during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Los Angeles Angels' C.J. Cron, left, steps on home plate to score on a single hit by Cesar Puello as Baltimore Orioles catcher Welington Castillo takes off his mask during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

ANAHEIM, California — He could have quit. Most guys probably would have. Cesar Puello was in his 10th minor league season, still waiting for his first call to the majors, when he was released by Texas' Triple-A team in June.

The Los Angeles Angels gave him a call, though, and the outfielder did not hesitate. He was back at Triple-A, this time with Salt Lake.

On a warm Wednesday afternoon, his unlikely dream came true.

Called up in the morning, Puello started for the Angels and drove in the go-ahead run in their 5-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

"I'm so happy for him," Angels right-hander Troy Scribner said. "He works his butt off. I played with him quite a bit in Salt Lake and he's just one of those guys who would literally run through a wall for you.

"He's one of my favorite guys."

Scribner (2-0) benefitted from Puello's debut in his second start for the Angels. He held the Orioles to a solo homer by Wellington Castillo in his five innings.

"He kept those guys off-balance and got it to a point in the game where we could turn it over to our bullpen," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He did a great job. He had good stuff out there, moved it around, changed speeds. He did what he's good at doing."

The Orioles had won eight of their last 10 after winning the series opener against the Angels, but they dropped the last two, scoring a combined three runs.

"Every team does (struggle) when a team pitches well," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I'll tip my hat to them. We had four hits today. They pitched well. They pitched well the most part for the whole series."

The Angels led 2-1 after Puello's single up the middle off right-hander Kevin Gausman's glove in the fourth. Puello then stole two bases.

C.J. Cron added a two-run homer in the sixth and Zach Britton walked in a run in the eighth.

Gausman (8-8) went 5 1/3 innings, giving up four runs, eight hits and two walks.

"He was real good," Showalter said. "He made one mistake trying to go up and in off the plate to Cron."

Relievers Yusmeiro Petit, Keynan Middleton and Blake Parker held the Orioles scoreless over the final four innings.

Puello is 26, so he's hardly a kid, but most players tend to have serious butterflies when they're making their major league debuts. Still, he appeared remarkably at ease.

"I was relaxed," Puello said. "I've been playing baseball for a long time. One thing I like to control is slow the game down and do what I gotta do."

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