Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez talks about getting ahead of the batters in the team's 3-2 victory against the Los Angeles Angels. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)

In the first inning, Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy launched a fly ball to deep center that appeared to be a two-run homer. But Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos ran straight back, jumped at the wall and robbed Hardy of his 14th home run — arguably the best catch at Camden Yards this season.

“I hit the wall a hair before I caught it,” Bourjos said. “I felt like the wall was coming, luckily I timed it well enough, had a pretty good read on where the ball was.”

What was Hardy's reaction?

“Really?” Hardy said he said to himself. “With a big question mark.”

It was reminiscent of last June 27 at Camden Yards when Trout scaled the center-field wall to take away a homer — also from Hardy. That became Trout's signature defensive play as he won the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

“They're both tied for first,” said Hardy when asked which was better.

Said Trout: “I was pretty pumped, it was a big play, perfect jump, timing was perfect. … Once we got into the dugout, we were messing with J.J.; he was just shaking his head. As an infielder, he's taken a lot of hits away from us, so any chance you get to take hits away from him, you take it.”

In the fourth, with Trout in left field, Hardy ran into bad luck again — this time courtesy of an Angels fan.

Hardy hit a fly ball that was headed into the seats along the left-field foul line. As Trout reached up to grab the ball, a fan in a Trout jersey put his glove up and knocked the ball away. It was ruled fan interference, and Hardy was called out.

Angels starter Jason Vargas didn't really need much help from the fans or the umps.

It was the second time Vargas and Gonzalez had matched up this year, with Vargas shutting out the Orioles 4-0 on May 3 in Anaheim. Gonzalez allowed three runs in six innings in that quality start.

Vargas was nearly as good this time. Coming into the night with a 1.65 ERA in seven career games against the Orioles — his lowest mark against any American League opponent — Vargas allowed just two hits through five innings. In the sixth, ninth-hitter Ryan Flaherty singled and went to third on Markakis' single to right center. Flaherty scored on a groundout by Machado to tie the game.

Vargas (5-4) was then victimized by three two-out infield singles in the seventh, all the product of Orioles — Danny Valencia, Steve Pearce and Flaherty — hustling up the first-base line.

“We were fortunate,” Showalter said repeatedly. “[With] Vargas, you know there's going to be a fine line there. You get a feel for it and it progresses. I don't want to say lucky, but we were fortunate. We hit them in the right place.”

Reliever Scott Downs entered and Markakis lined his second pitch into center field for a two-run single. Markakis is 7-for-20 with nine RBIs against the Angels lefty.

“You want to be in those situations. I've faced Downs enough to know what he is going to do up there,” Markakis said. “He tries to stick the ball in on lefties' hands and normally does a good job at it. I was just looking for a ball up in the zone, anything up and I could reach I was swinging. So he left one up over the plate, I put a good swing on it and we got two runs.”

dan.connolly@baltsun.com
twitter.com/danconnollysun