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Fuentes at top of his game for Angels

Fuentes at top of his game for Angels

ANAHEIM -- Brian Fuentes' 14th save of the season in Tuesday night's series opener against the Rangers was the Angels closer's best performance of the season in the view of his manager, Mike Scioscia. Fuentes struck out two of the three Rangers he faced in a perfect ninth inning, including former teammate Vladimir Guerrero.

"Brian's always been command sensitive," Scioscia said. "Last night was a great example of when he has his command and what he can do. That's a tough threesome he faced. He made some terrific pitches to them. It's probably his best outing of the year with his command and the velocity he showed."

Fuentes struck out Ian Kinsler and Guerrero and retired Josh Hamilton, a Triple Crown candidate, on a grounder to seal a 6-5 victory for Joel Pineiro. Fuentes, the 2009 MLB leader with 48 saves, has converted eight consecutive save opportunities and has not yielded a hit in his past three appearances. He has 27 strikeouts against 10 walks in 22 1/3 innings, holding hitters to a .233 batting average.

"It's easy to play a video game and put the ball where you want it," Fuentes said. "When you're out there, you have to have some luck on your side. You want to change their eye levels by pitching up and down, in and out, change elevations so they don't lock in on a small zone. It was a positive outing."

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