Shohei Ohtani’s two-way play, Jared Walsh’s walk-off homer lead Angels

  • The Angels celebrate as Jared Walsh, center, crosses home plate after hitting a walk-off, three-run home run in the ninth inning of Sunday night’s 7-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Angel Stadium. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) throws a ball to fans as he warms up before a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels is congratulated by catcher Max Stassi #33 in the first inning during the game against the Chicago White Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease throws to the plate against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani hits a solo home run against pitcher Dylan Cease of the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of Sunday’s game at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) runs the bases after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – APRIL 04: Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels rounds third base after hitting a one run home run against pitcher Dylan Cease #84 of the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani (17) celebrates after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • A family takes a photo on Easter Sunday before a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Angels Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – APRIL 04: Starting pitcher Dylan Cease #84 of the Chicago White Sox reacts after loading up the bases against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – APRIL 04: Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels reacts after the last out of the second inning against the Chicago White Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) and catcher Max Stassi (33) bumps fists as they walk to the dugout after the top of the second inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Max Stassi (33) is safe at first ahead of a throw to Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) during the second inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Chicago White Sox’s Billy Hamilton, bottom, steals second base ahead of a throw to Los Angeles Angels second baseman David Fletcher (22) during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – APRIL 04: Billy Hamilton of the Chicago White Sox steals second base with David Fletcher #22 of the Los Angeles Angels looking on during the third inning of the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) throws during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Billy Hamilton of the Chicago White Sox teas the back of pitcher Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels after the last out of the third inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. Hamilton stole a base against Ohtani during the third inning. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout (27) flies out to center field during the third inning against the Chicago White Sox in a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Chicago White Sox shortstop Leury Garcia (28) fields a ground ball hit by Los Angeles Angels’ Anthony Rendon during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels shortstop Jose Iglesias (4) throws to first base during a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Saturday, April 3, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Angels right fielder Juan Lagares (19) dives to catch a line drive hit by Chicago White Sox’s Billy Hamilton during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Chicago White Sox’s Leury Garcia (28) makes it safely to first ahead of a throw to Los Angeles Angels first baseman Jared Walsh (20) during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – APRIL 04: Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels reacts after loading up the bases during the fifth inning of the game against Chicago White Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. Ohtani was injured on the play and had to leave the game. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • The Chicago White Sox’s Leury Garcia (28) high-fives designated hitter Yermin Mercedes (73) after scoring on a wild pitch by Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – APRIL 04: Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox with pitcher Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels at home plate during the fifth inning of the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. Ohtani was injured on the play and had to leave the game. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) and Chicago White Sox’s Jose Abreu (79) collide at home plate, after a passed ball during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. Abreu and Adam Eaton both scored. Ohtani left the game. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Chicago White Sox’s Jose Abreu (79) checks on Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani, right, after they collided at home plate, following a passed ball during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. Abreu and Adam Eaton both scored. Ohtani left the game. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – APRIL 04: Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels is injured after colliding with Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox at home plate as he was scoring a run after a wild pitch during the fifth inning of the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels fans pose for a photo with a picture of starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani during the second inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani walks off the field during the fifth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. Ohtani and White Sox’s Jose Abreu collided at the plate while Ohtani was covering after a passed ball. Abreu and Adam Eaton both scored. Ohtani left the game. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Two fans reach for a ball thrown to them by Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani before of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Jared Walsh (20) high-fives Jose Iglesias (4) after Walsh hit a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Justin Upton, right, is hit by a pitch from Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Aaron Bummer during the seventh inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Chicago White Sox’s Nick Madrigal is hit by a pitch from Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Raisel Iglesias during the ninth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) is short of catching a throw to third from relief pitcher Raisel Iglesias during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. Chicago White Sox’ Nick Madrigal scored. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • White Sox outfielder Luis Robert leaps at the left field wall but is unable to catch the game-winning three-run home run by the Angels’ Jared Walsh in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday night at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Jared Walsh (20) throws down his batting helmet as he runs to home plate after hitting a home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. Dexter Fowler and Anthony Rendon also scored. The Angels won 7-4. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Jared Walsh (20) celebrates as he runs to home plate after hitting a home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. Dexter Fowler and Anthony Rendon also scored. The Angels won 7-4. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Fans waits to enter Angel Stadium of Anaheim for the Los Angeles Angels and Chicago White Sox baseball game on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Fans waits to enter Angel Stadium of Anaheim for the Los Angeles Angels and Chicago White Sox baseball game on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CA – APRIL 04: Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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ANAHEIM — After dealing with injuries that prevented him from performing at his peak as a two-way player for nearly three years, Shohei Ohtani had been waiting to reacquaint the baseball world with the scope of his talents.

He took care of that in the first 15 minutes of the Angels’ 7-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday night, which ended on Jared Walsh’s walk-off homer, his second of the night.

Ohtani threw the one of his nine pitches at 100 mph in the top of the first, and in the bottom of the inning he blasted a 451-foot homer, the ball leaving his bat at 115 mph.

“What he did tonight was pretty special and you’re going to see a lot more of that,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “It was fun to watch. I think everybody was entertained. That’s what he signed up to do and you’re going to see more of it.”

It was the jaw-dropping opening to a nationally televised game that certainly helped answer questions about whether Ohtani could really pull off what no player — other than him — had done in 100 years.

Babe Ruth was the last player to be successful as a hitter and a pitcher before Ohtani did it for the first half of 2018, but injuries had kept him from doing it since. Even in 2018, though, he never hit and pitched in the same game, as he did on Sunday.

“I’m glad I got this game under my belt,” Ohtani said through his interpreter. “It will lead to more confidence… It’s just one game. I’m going to take it one game at a time. I’m not out to prove the doubters wrong or anything.”

What’s more, the Angels won the game, taking three of four in the season-opening series from one of the best teams in the league.

The Angels, who took a one-run lead on a Walsh homer in the fifth, were two outs from winning it in the top of the ninth. Closer Raisel Iglesias stabbed a comebacker and made an errant throw to third, allowing the tying run to score.

They won it anyway. Dexter Fowler led off the bottom of the ninth with a single and went to second on an Anthony Rendon walk.

Walsh then launched a ball over the fence in left-center.

It was the dramatic finish to a night that that ended for Ohtani in a wild — and frightening — sequence back in the fifth.

With a 3-1 lead, two on and two out, Ohtani threw a two-strike pitch that Yoan Moncada swung through, but catcher Max Stassi had the ball tick off his glove and roll about 25 feet from the plate. Stassi’s rushed throw to first skipped past Walsh as José Abreu came steaming around to try to score the second White  Sox run on the play.

Ohtani was covering the plate and leapt just as Abreu — who is 6-3, 235 pounds — slid into him. Ohtani got up slowly, but was able to walk off the field on his own power, ending his night.

“I feel fine as of now,” Ohtani said. “When the collision happened the impact was kind of big. I couldn’t get up right away, but after time I felt much better… It wasn’t as bad as it looked.”

Ohtani might not have even been in the game for that collision if Maddon had not shown confidence in him by leaving him out to try to escape the jam even after he’d given up a run on on a hit and two walks.

“That’s how a guy becomes a guy,” Maddon said. “You gotta give him that opportunity, especially this time of year. If he does that now and is able to fight through it, he will know what he’s capable of. If you are constantly taking guys out of troubling situations they are never going to find out.”

Ohtani said he was “really grateful for Joe letting me face that extra hitter.”

Those two unearned runs did little to detract from what Ohtani had done on the mound, though.

He threw 92 pitches, consistently hitting 97-99 mph with his fastball and peaking at 101. He hadn’t allowed a run through four innings, and he ended the fourth with a three-pitch strikeout of Luis Robert to strand two runners.

Ohtani then pumped his fist and screamed at the most exciting of his seven strikeouts.

Ohtani had a nice night at the plate too, which was encouraging after he’d gone 2 for 13 with six strikeouts in the first three games.

His first-inning homer was a monster shot on a first-pitch 97-mph fastball from Dylan Cease. In the second inning, Ohtani smoked a 109 mph laser into center field, but it was caught. He grounded out in his final at-bat.

Ohtani said he felt “almost perfect” at the plate, and Maddon said that probably carried over to the way he pitched.

“It’s all interconnected,” Maddon said. “Everything we do is interconnected. He is a very introspective bright young man who loves to play baseball. Let’s stay out of his way. Let him play baseball and see what happens.”

Read more about Shohei Ohtani’s two-way play, Jared Walsh’s walk-off homer lead Angels This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

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Shohei Ohtani stars with his arm and bat, Jared Walsh hits walk-off homer to lead Angels

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) and Chicago White Sox’s Jose Abreu (79) collide at home plate, after a passed ball during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. Abreu and Adam Eaton both scored. Ohtani left the game. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Chicago White Sox’s Jose Abreu (79) checks on Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani, right, after they collided at home plate, following a passed ball during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. Abreu and Adam Eaton both scored. Ohtani left the game. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels is congratulated by catcher Max Stassi #33 in the first inning during the game against the Chicago White Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels reacts after the last out of the second inning against the Chicago White Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Billy Hamilton of the Chicago White Sox teas the back of pitcher Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels after the last out of the third inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. Hamilton stole a base against Ohtani during the third inning. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • A family takes a photo on Easter Sunday before a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Angels Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Max Stassi (33) is safe at first ahead of a throw to Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) during the second inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels fans pose for a photo with a picture of starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani during the second inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Chicago White Sox shortstop Leury Garcia (28) fields a ground ball hit by Los Angeles Angels’ Anthony Rendon during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) runs the bases after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani (17) celebrates after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) walks across the field as he warms up before a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) warms up before a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) throws a ball to fans as he warms up before a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Fans waits to enter Angel Stadium of Anaheim for the Los Angeles Angels and Chicago White Sox baseball game on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Fans waits to enter Angel Stadium of Anaheim for the Los Angeles Angels and Chicago White Sox baseball game on April 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • Chicago White Sox’s Billy Hamilton, bottom, steals second base ahead of a throw to Los Angeles Angels second baseman David Fletcher (22) during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) throws during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani walks off the field during the fifth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. Ohtani and White Sox’s Jose Abreu collided at the plate while Ohtani was covering after a passed ball. Abreu and Adam Eaton both scored. Ohtani left the game. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

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ANAHEIM — After dealing with injuries that prevented him from performing at his peak as a two-way player for nearly three years, Shohei Ohtani had been waiting to reacquaint the baseball world with the scope of his talents.

He took care of that in the first 15 minutes of the Angels’ 7-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday night, which ended on Jared Walsh’s walk-off homer, his second of the night.

Ohtani threw the one of his nine pitches at 100 mph in the top of the first, and in the bottom of the inning he blasted a 451-foot homer, the ball leaving his bat at 115 mph.

“What he did tonight was pretty special and you’re going to see a lot more of that,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “It was fun to watch. I think everybody was entertained. That’s what he signed up to do and you’re going to see more of it.”

It was the jaw-dropping opening to a nationally televised game that certainly helped answer questions about whether Ohtani could really pull off what no player — other than him — had done in 100 years.

Babe Ruth was the last player to be successful as a hitter and a pitcher before Ohtani did it for the first half of 2018, but injuries had kept him from doing it since. Even in 2018, though, he never hit and pitched in the same game, as he did on Sunday.

“I’m glad I got this game under my belt,” Ohtani said through his interpreter. “It will lead to more confidence… It’s just one game. I’m going to take it one game at a time. I’m not out to prove the doubters wrong or anything.”

What’s more, the Angels won the game, taking three of four in the season-opening series from one of the best teams in the league.

The Angels, who took a one-run lead on a Walsh homer in the fifth, were two outs from winning it in the top of the ninth. Closer Raisel Iglesias stabbed a comebacker and made an errant throw to third, allowing the tying run to score.

They won it anyway. Dexter Fowler led off the bottom of the ninth with a single and went to second on an Anthony Rendon walk.

Walsh then launched a ball over the fence in left-center.

It was the dramatic finish to a night that that ended for Ohtani in a wild — and frightening — sequence back in the fifth.

With a 3-1 lead, two on and two out, Ohtani threw a two-strike pitch that Yoan Moncada swung through, but catcher Max Stassi had the ball tick off his glove and roll about 25 feet from the plate. Stassi’s rushed throw to first skipped past Walsh as José Abreu came steaming around to try to score the second White  Sox run on the play.

Ohtani was covering the plate and leapt just as Abreu — who is 6-3, 235 pounds — slid into him. Ohtani got up slowly, but was able to walk off the field on his own power, ending his night.

“I feel fine as of now,” Ohtani said. “When the collision happened the impact was kind of big. I couldn’t get up right away, but after time I felt much better… It wasn’t as bad as it looked.”

Ohtani might not have even been in the game for that collision if Maddon had not shown confidence in him by leaving him out to try to escape the jam even after he’d given up a run on on a hit and two walks.

“That’s how a guy becomes a guy,” Maddon said. “You gotta give him that opportunity, especially this time of year. If he does that now and is able to fight through it, he will know what he’s capable of. If you are constantly taking guys out of troubling situations they are never going to find out.”

Ohtani said he was “really grateful for Joe letting me face that extra hitter.”

Those two unearned runs did little to detract from what Ohtani had done on the mound, though.

He threw 92 pitches, consistently hitting 97-99 mph with his fastball and peaking at 101. He hadn’t allowed a run through four innings, and he ended the fourth with a three-pitch strikeout of Luis Robert to strand two runners.

Ohtani then pumped his fist and screamed at the most exciting of his seven strikeouts.

Ohtani had a nice night at the plate too, which was encouraging after he’d gone 2 for 13 with six strikeouts in the first three games.

His first-inning homer was a monster shot on a first-pitch 97-mph fastball from Dylan Cease. In the second inning, Ohtani smoked a 109 mph laser into center field, but it was caught. He grounded out in his final at-bat.

Ohtani said he felt “almost perfect” at the plate, and Maddon said that probably carried over to the way he pitched.

“It’s all interconnected,” Maddon said. “Everything we do is interconnected. He is a very introspective bright young man who loves to play baseball. Let’s stay out of his way. Let him play baseball and see what happens.”

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Angels’ Shohei Ohtani develops blister, loses to Dodgers in final spring training start

  • The Dodgers’ Will Smith (16) is congratulated by teammates Max Muncy, left, and A.J. Pollock after hitting a three-run home run in the bottom of the third inning of Monday’s Freeway Series exhibition game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Corey Seager (5) rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the bottom of the second inning during their game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, Mar. 29, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Angels pitcher Junior Guerra (41) during their game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Friday, Mar. 29, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Chris Taylor (3) rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the bottom of the second inning during their game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, Mar. 29, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Chris Taylor (3) hits a home run in the bottom of the second inning during their game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, Mar. 29, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Will Smith (16) rounds the bases after hitting a 3-run home run in the bottom of the third inning during their game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, Mar. 29, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Corey Seager rounds the bases after hitting a home run off Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani, left, in the bottom of the second inning of Monday’s Freeway Series exhibition game at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ A.J. Pollock (11) stands in left field during their game agent the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, Mar. 29, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 29: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels warms up before the MLB game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Julio Urias #7 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up before the MLB game against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels fouls the ball during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels hits a fly out ball during the first inning of an MLB game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout rounds first base as he flies out during the first inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday, March 29, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels reacts after walking Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Chris Taylor #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers rounds the bases after a two-run home run during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Chris Taylor #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with Gavin Lux #9 after a two-run home run during the second inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani smiles as he warms up before a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday, March 29, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager connects on a solo home run during the second inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Monday, March 29, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a home run during the second inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Angels starter Shohei Ohtani walks off the mound after giving up a solo home run to Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager during the second inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game Monday, March 29, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager (5) is met in the dugout by manager Dave Roberts, center, after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game Monday, March 29, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels reacts after giving up a three run home run to Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the third inning at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias throws to the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game, Monday, March 29, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Phil Gosselin #13 of the Los Angeles Angels rounds the bases after a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 29: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on during warm-up before the MLB game against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 29: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on during warm-up before the MLB game against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Julio Urias #7 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after giving up a home run to Phil Gosselin #13 of the Los Angeles Angels during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 29: Jose Iglesias #4 of the Los Angeles Angels lays out to catch the ball during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 29: Jose Iglesias #4 of the Los Angeles Angels makes the throw to third base during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger connects on a solo home run during the fifth inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Monday, March 29, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger follows through on a solo home run during the fifth inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Monday, March 29, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 29: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers rounds the bases after a home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 29: Keibert Ruiz #25 of the Los Angeles Dodgers slides into third base against Jose Rojas #80 of the Los Angeles Angels during the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 29: Keibert Ruiz #25 of the Los Angeles Dodgers slides into third base against Jose Rojas #80 of the Los Angeles Angels during the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 29: Keibert Ruiz #25 of the Los Angeles Dodgers slides into third base against Jose Rojas #80 of the Los Angeles Angels during the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 29: Jon Jay #9 of the Los Angeles Angels throws the ball during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • DJ Peters #70, Luke Raley #62 and Matt Beaty #45 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate their 10-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate their 10-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, left, talks to Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner before a spring training exhibition baseball game Monday, March 29, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • A general view at Dodger Stadium before the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels on March 29, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES ― With two exhibition games remaining, the Angels and Dodgers could see the finish line. Every team’s goal for spring training – to begin the regular season without a major injury – was well within reach.

Then Shohei Ohtani decided to make things interesting.

The final score of Monday night’s Freeway Series game was not. Making his final spring training appearance as a pitcher, Ohtani allowed seven runs in 2⅓ innings, and the Dodgers beat the Angels, 10-2, inside a mostly empty Dodger Stadium.

The more serious concern was a blister on Ohtani’s right middle finger that caused him to lose command of his fastball and hastened his early exit.

“I’m not too worried for my next outing,” Ohtani said through his interpreter. “I’m glad the blister peeled off today before the games actually matter.”

Ohtani said the blister surfaced in his previous pitching appearance, a smooth four-inning start against the Padres on March 21. He played two games as the Angels’ designated hitter in the meantime, even hitting a home run.

Back on the mound Monday, Ohtani’s command betrayed him from the outset. He walked Corey Seager, Justin Turner and A.J. Pollock to load the bases in the first inning. Max Muncy ultimately struck out to end the inning, but he only saw one fastball in the at-bat – a 99-mph heater in the dirt that got past catcher Kurt Suzuki, allowing a run to score.

The next two innings saw more of the same. Ohtani walked Will Smith, then hung a slider that Chris Taylor deposited in left-center field for a home run. Ohtani fell behind Seager 3-and-0, and Seager hit his eighth home run of spring training to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead.

Ohtani’s night ended when Will Smith crushed a hanging curveball for a three-run home run in the third inning. The right-hander threw 63 pitches, only 31 for strikes.

While Ohtani said the focus was on increasing his pitch count, his health became a question mark as the Angels plan their starting pitching assignments to begin the season.

“Right now I’ve been told it’s not going to affect” Ohtani making his first start of the season against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, Manager Joe Maddon said. “Adam (Nevala), our trainer, was pretty certain that he’s going to be fine, or he is fine.”

“I have a whole week ahead of me to try to toughen it up,” Ohtani said.

Actually, Ohtani will have only five days’ rest between starts for the first time since he left Japan to sign with the Angels. None of his 12 major league starts have come on fewer than six days’ rest.

In another first, Ohtani will be in the Angels’ lineup one day after he pitches. He’ll serve as the Angels’ designated hitter on Tuesday night in the Freeway Series finale. Swinging a bat, Maddon said, should not affect the blister on Ohtani’s finger.

Dodgers starter Julio Urías, by contrast, had a pleasantly uneventful return home. The left-hander didn’t allow a hit until Phil Gosselin hit a solo home run in the fourth inning to put the Angels on the board. Urías didn’t allow another run in 5⅔ innings, did not walk a batter, and struck out three.

“It was a very methodical spring,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Urías. “We feel really good where he’s at right now. He could’ve kept going a little bit longer. With Julio, his entire mix, everything, worked ahead all night.”

Cody Bellinger hit the Dodgers’ fourth home run of the game, a solo blast against Junior Guerra. Left fielder Pollock returned to the lineup one day after he was scratched due to illness and drew a pair of walks in four plate appearances.

Corey Knebel, Kenley Jansen and Jimmy Nelson did not allow a run out of the Dodgers’ bullpen. Scott Alexander, who’s in the running for the final bullpen job, allowed one run in the ninth inning.

“Overall on the pitching side,” Roberts said, “we accomplished what we hoped.”

Dustin May will start for the Dodgers (12-11-5) and left-hander Jose Quintana will start for the Angels (13-12-2) in the rubber match Tuesday. Both teams are expected to use a designated hitter in the final exhibition game of 2021.

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Taylor Ward’s home run lifts Angels over Dodgers in Freeway Series opener

  • Taylor Ward (3) and José Iglesias (4) of the Angels celebrate after Ward hit a home tun in the 8th inning to win the game against the Dodgers during a Freeway Series exhibition game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Sunday, March 28, 2021. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cody Bellinger (35) and Max Muncy (13) of the Dodgers celebrate after Muncy hit a 2-run home run in the second inning against the Angels during a Freeway Series exhibition game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Sunday, March 28, 2021. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • James Pazos (47) of the Dodgers pitches against the Angels during a Freeway Series exhibition game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Sunday, March 28, 2021. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Tony Gonsolin (26) of the Dodgers pitches against the Angels during a Freeway Series exhibition game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Sunday, March 28, 2021. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Max Muncy (13) of the Dodgers points upward after hitting a home run in 5th inning against the Angels during a Freeway Series exhibition game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Sunday, March 28, 2021. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Griffin Canning (47) of the Angels pitches against the Dodgers during a Freeway Series exhibition game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Sunday, March 28, 2021. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Patrick Sandoval (43) of the Angels pitches against the Dodgers during a Freeway Series exhibition game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Sunday, March 28, 2021. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Gus Varland (96) of the Dodgers pitches against the Angels during a Freeway Series exhibition game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Sunday, March 28, 2021. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Griffin Canning (47) of the Angels pitches against the Dodgers during a Freeway Series exhibition game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Sunday, March 28, 2021. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Angels’ pitcher Andrew Heaney (28) pitches against the Dodgers during a Freeway Series exhibition game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Sunday, March 28, 2021. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • David Fletcher (22) of the Angels is forced out at second as Corey Seager (5) of the Dodgers makes the throw to first for the double play during a Freeway Series exhibition game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Sunday, March 28, 2021. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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ANAHEIM ― Players, umpires, official scorers, public-address announcers and everyone else inside a mostly empty Angel Stadium had one thing in common Sunday. They only have a couple more days to use “it’s only spring training” as a valid excuse.

The hallmarks of regular-season baseball were hard to miss in the Freeway Series opener. Two teams that figure to rely heavily on home runs combined to hit six. The lineups, save for the Dodgers’ last-minute substitution of DJ Peters for AJ Pollock, had a distinctively regular-season feel. Only the ending was weird.

When Taylor Ward pummeled a Garrett Cleavinger fastball over the right-center field display in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Dodgers’ fielders meandered awkwardly around the field. Ward circled the bases dutifully. No teammates greeted him at home plate, and only Jose Iglesias jumped out of the Angels’ dugout with the vigor worthy of a walk-off home run.

The game was scheduled to last eight innings. The celebration of the Angels’ 6-5 win was as mute as the stadium itself.

“The old eighth-inning walk-off home run,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s beautiful, right?”

Ward did not start the game but he collected two hits in two plate appearances, including the game-winner. Mike Trout went 2 for 3 and hit a two-run single against Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin. Juan Lagares hit the Angels’ other home run, a solo blast against James Pazos in the seventh inning to tie the game at 5.

Max Muncy hit two home runs for the Dodgers (11-11-5), who host the final two games of the series beginning Monday. Corey Seager and Gavin Lux, both left-handed hitters, each homered against Angels southpaw Andrew Heaney. Fourteen of the Dodgers’ 24 outs came via strikeout.

The Angels (13-11-3) will send Shohei Ohtani to the mound against Julio Urías Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Gonsolin, who is in the running for the final spot in the Dodgers’ rotation, didn’t allow an earned run through the first three innings. He allowed eight hits, walked three batters, and struck out six in 3 2/3 innings.

“I feel like I’m ready for whatever role they put me in,” Gonsolin said.

Down 4-0 on the home runs by Muncy, Seager and Lux, the Angels got on the board in the third inning when Seager allowed an Albert Pujols ground ball to bounce into left field, scoring two.

The Angels tied the game at 4 on Trout’s bases-loaded, two-run single in the fourth inning. Gonsolin faced two more batters before reaching his limit at 86 pitches. Manager Dave Roberts hoped the right-hander could complete five innings, but he went to his bullpen in the fourth.

Maddon went to his bullpen even sooner than Roberts, pulling Heaney after 2 2/3 innings. Griffin Canning pitched two innings and allowed the last of Muncy’s two home runs. Patrick Sandoval, Mike Mayers and Raisel Iglesias each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

If Sunday’s barrage was no fluke, it seems the Dodgers and Angels managed to pack the desert air into the moving van and bring it with them from Arizona.

“Typically the ball carries more in Arizona,” Roberts said. “At sea level the ball tends to move a little bit more as far as spin, so I thought it played true today from that sense. We’ll know more the next couple days at Dodger Stadium. Then we’re going to altitude at Colorado. That should play differently as well.”

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Angels rookie Elliot Soto knocks first big league hit after 10 years in minors

After Elliot Soto’s 10-year minor league odyssey culminated with his first two big league hits, he was asked what made him stick it out so long.

“I don’t know,” the Angels’ 31-year-old rookie said on Saturday night. “I never wanted to give up. I’m a cucaracha. I’m a cockroach. Never die.”

Although the Angels lost 7-6 to the Dodgers in a meaningless game, Soto and Jahmai Jones provided the happy storyline at the end of a mostly disappointing season.

The two infielders had become close since the first spring training back in Arizona and the bond grew as they worked out together at the Angels’ alternate training site in Long Beach.

Each had made his major league debut already, but on Saturday they were in the starting lineup for the first time, Soto at shortstop and Jones at second.

“In BP when we were turning double plays, I’m like ‘Wow, this is comfy,’” Soto said. “This is normal. We’ve got good chemistry.”

The feel-good vibes continued into the third inning, when each stepped to the plate for the first time.

Jones went first, and lined a single up the middle, driving in the Angels’ first run of the game. Soto followed and poked a single into right.

It was the first time in Angels history that players picked up hits in their first big league at-bats in consecutive plate appearances. The last time it happened was in 2016, when Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin did it for the Yankees.

“Everyone was super happy,” Soto said. “It made it a super special occasion for me. And Jam going right before me and getting his, it kind of pumped me up.”

While the moment was obviously unforgettable for Jones too, it came amid a much different context than for Soto. Jones, 23, was a second-round pick in 2015. He had gone through a position change and some swing changes, but he ultimately didn’t reach the big leagues too much later than a normal timetable.

Soto was in his sixth season toiling in the minors when Jones was drafted. His 11th season as a professional nearly ended without an official at-bat anywhere, because of the coronavirus shutting down minor league baseball.

The Angels kept him around as a utility infielder, and he’d traveled with the big league team as part of the taxi squad earlier in the season. He finally got his chance to be on the active roster this week, when Andrelton Simmons opted out.

And on Friday night, Luis Rengifo hurt his hamstring, which gave Soto the chance to get into a game on defense. On Saturday, with the Angels eliminated, he got the chance to start.

To Manager Joe Maddon, who speaks often about his roots in player development and the minor leagues, writing Soto’s name in the lineup was special.

Maddon spoke before the game about Soto’s exceptional defensive skills and he flashed those with a barehand pickup to throw out Chris Taylor. Soto also chipped in a second hit, a double down the right field line.

“Spectacular,” Maddon said. “You saw how good of a player he is. What you saw tonight is no fluke. That’s what he is. That’s what he looks like. He showed tonight why he belongs on the big league level.”

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Freeway Series Photos: Will Smith hits go-ahead blast as Dodgers defeat Angels

Check out these photographs from Dodgers’ 9-5 victory over the Angels on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. (Photos by Hans Gutknecht/SCNG)

 

  • The Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez #14 throws to first base for a double play as the Angels’ Jared Walsh #25 slides into second base in the top of the first inning during their MLB game at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney #28 looks down as the Dodgers’ Justin Turner #10 rounds the bases after Turner hit a home run in the bottom of the fifth inning during their MLB game at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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  • The Dodgers’ A.J. Pollock #11 hits a home run in the bottom of the fourth inning during their MLB game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Angels’ Mike Trout #27 is congratulated by David Fletcher #22 after Trout hit a three-run homer in the top of the third inning during their MLB game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodger starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 during their MLB game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Angels’ Mike Trout #27 is congratulated by Luis Rengifo #4 after Trout hit a three-run homer in the top of the third inning during their MLB game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ A.J. Pollock #11 hits a home run in the bottom of the fourth inning during their MLB game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Will Smith #16 rounds the bases after hitting a two run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning during their MLB game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Will Smith #16 is congratulated by Max Muncy #13 after Smith hit a two run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning during their MLB game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Angels’ Jared Walsh #25 crosses home plate after hitting a home run in the top of the fifth inning during their MLB game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodger starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 walks around the mound after giving up a three-run homer to the Angels’ Mike Trout #27 in the top of the third inning during their MLB game at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Mookie Betts #50 steals home in the bottom of the first inning during their MLB game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Angels’ Justin Upton #10 enters the dugout after hitting a home run in the top of the fourth inning during their MLB game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Angels pitcher Matt Andriese #35 looks away as the Dodgers heads for home after Will Smith #16 hit a two run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning during their MLB game at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Angels’ Jared Walsh #25 enters the dugout after hitting a home run in the top of the fifth inning during their MLB game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Angels’ Justin Upton #10 heads for home plate after hitting a home run in the top of the fourth inning during their MLB game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney #28 during their MLB game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ A.J. Pollock #11 enters the dugout after hitting a home run in the bottom of the fourth inning during their MLB game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Corey Seager #5 throws to first base during their MLB game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Justin Turner #10 hits a home run in the bottom of the fifth inning during their MLB game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Angels’ Luis Rengifo #4 makes a diving attempt to stop a Dodgers’ Max Muncy #13 single in the bottom of the first inning during their MLB game at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodger starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 during their MLB game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts #50 catches a fly ball hit by the Angels’ Anthony Rendon #6 for the out in the top of the fifth inning during their MLB game at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Angels’ Jared Walsh #25 rounds the bases after hitting a home run as Dodgers pitcher Brusdar Graterol #48 looks on in the top fifth inning during their MLB game at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Angels’ Mike Trout #27 is congratulated after Trout hit a three-run homer in the top of the third inning during their MLB game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez #14 throws to first base during their MLB game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodger starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 during their MLB game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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Rare rough start for Dylan Bundy sends Angels to another loss

ANAHEIM — Dylan Bundy’s breakout season hit a speed bump.

Bundy, the most pleasant surprise on the Angels roster in this forgettable season, tossed a clunker in a 9-6 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.

  • Justin Upton #10 of the Los Angeles Angels is welcomed into the dugout after hitting a home rung against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Jo Adell #59 of the Los Angeles Angels catches a fly ball in right field hit by Daulton Varsho #12 of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the sixth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

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  • Max Stassi #33 of the Los Angeles Angels watches as David Peralta #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a home run in the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Dylan Bundy #37 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches in the first innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Josh Rojas #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks stands on the warning track while Los Angeles Angels players in the bullpen try to catch a home run ball hit by Justin Upton #10 of the Los Angeles Angels in the sixth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Stefan Crichton throws during the ninth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout reacts after flying out to Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Kole Calhoun during the fifth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Justin Upton, right, celebrates his two-run home run with Anthony Rendon, left, and Taylor Ward during the fifth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels breaks his bat on a pitch by Taylor Clarke #45 of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Justin Upton #10 of the Los Angeles Angels congratulates Max Stassi #33 on his home run in the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Jared Walsh, right, avoids a tag by Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed, advancing on a passed ball during the fifth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Jared Walsh #25 of the Los Angeles Angels rounds third base after hitting a home run in the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Caleb Smith #31 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Stephen Vogt #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks stands buy as Justin Upton #10 of the Los Angeles Angels congratulates Max Stassi #33 on his home run in the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels breaks his bat on a pitch by Taylor Clarke #45 of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels sits in the dug out in the first inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

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Bundy brought a 2.48 ERA into the game, having allowed more than two earned runs in just two starts, and only once allowing as many as four.

But he gave up that many in the second inning alone on Wednesday, failing to retire any of the first six hitters of the inning.

“It was just getting behind in the count and having to throw a non-competitive off-seed pitch or a fastball not located very well, and I got singled to death,” Bundy said.

Bundy was charged with two more runs after he left in the third inning, ending his worst start of the season.

It put the Angels in a hole they could not escape, as they lost for the second straight night to the last-place Diamondbacks. The Angels missed a chance to pick up ground on the Houston Astros, remaining 4 1/2 games back with just 10 games to go.

“It’s frustrating for everybody,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “The guys are engaged. It is frustrating but we gotta keep pounding on the door. Of course the opportunity is slipping quickly, but we gotta keep rolling. Our guys have been engaged. They are working. It just hasn’t played. We have to put ourselves in better position at the beginning of the game to grab a lead and hold on to it.”

The Angels had hoped that sending their best starter to the mound would be the ticket to a victory, but it didn’t work out.

Bundy pitched a perfect first, but in the second he gave up four singles and two walks to the first six hitters. Two more runs got tacked on to his line when reliever Hoby Milner issued a walk and gave up an infield single.

The Angels hung around in the game thanks to a few homers.

Max Stassi hit a two-run shot to cut the lead in half after Bundy gave up four.

Sizzling Jared Walsh then hit a solo homer in the fifth, his sixth homer in his last seven games. Walsh also had a single, his sixth straight multi-hit game. He is the first Angels player to have multiple hits in six straight games since Erick Aybar in 2014.

“He’s got electric hands,” Maddon said. “This is a moment for him to ascend and he’s taking advantage of it. I don’t think it’s a fluke. I think it’s how he’s capable of hitting.”

Justin Upton cut the deficit to 6-4 with a homer in the sixth. Upton also continues to climb out of his month-long slump. Upton is hitting .345 with five homers in his last 16 games.

Just when the Angels got back within striking distance, Patrick Sandoval gave up a two-run homer to Kole Calhoun and a solo blast to David Peralta in the seventh.

It was Sandoval’s first appearance since being recalled from Long Beach. Before the homers, he had pitched three scoreless innings.

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Fired clubhouse worker files suit against Angels

Brian Harkins, the longtime Angels employee who was fired in March because he provided a substance to pitchers to doctor baseballs, has filed a complaint against the Angels and Major League Baseball, according to documents reviewed by the Southern California News Group.

The complaint was filed on Aug. 28 in Orange County Superior Court, was first reported by ESPN. The complaint claims that Harkins was made to be a scapegoat by the Angels and MLB.

The complain alleges defamation and false light against the Angels and MLB, because of the public allegations that Harkins provided an illegal substance, and that he did so to the detriment of the Angels. The complaint also alleges labor violations against the Angels for his dismissal.

The Angels and MLB declined to comment when reached by ESPN.

The case has been scheduled to go before a jury on May 31, 2022, although obviously it could be settled or dismissed before then.

The complaint says that Harkins, better known as Bubba, never distributed an illegal substance to anyone, and was unfamiliar where the name “Go Go Juice,” which described the concoction, had originated. The complaint also says it was common knowledge around the Angels clubhouse that a mixture of rosin, pine tar and “Mota stick (hard pine tar)” could be useful to help pitchers grip the baseball, and it was used by Angels pitchers as well as visitors.

“Bubba Harkins was not a traitor to his team,” the complaint reads. “Many people within the Angels organization knew about the Sticky Stuff of rosin and pine tar Bubba used to make for pitchers. Year after year a hair-creme-sized jar containing the Sticky Stuff was included in the Angels bullpen bag, along with sunscreen and other sticky substances. Many Angels pitchers used it over the years. Many  Angels coaches have encouraged its use by pitchers over the years. Many Angels position players have encouraged its use by pitchers over the years. Why? It gives the pitcher better control of the pitch, and consequently, makes the game safer.”

The complaint details how Harkins came to create his particular mix of materials with the help of a former All-Star Angels pitcher who went to the Detroit Tigers in 2005. That description fits longtime Angels closer Troy Percival.

Harkins was fired on Mar. 3, 2020, after Major League Baseball circulated a memo describing a crackdown on the use of substances on the baseball. Harkins never received a copy of the memo, according to the complaint.

On Mar. 20, Harkins delivered a letter to Angels president John Carpino explaining the situation and requesting he be reinstated, but Harkins received no response, according to the complaint.

Harkins was interviewed by Major League Baseball on Mar. 26 and he was asked which pitchers had used the substances, according to the complaint. There has been no subsequent discipline against anyone else, the complaint says.

Harkins, better known as Bubba, had spent nearly 40 years working for the Angels, including the past 30 as the visiting clubhouse manager.

Pitchers and hitters alike have often said that it’s common for pitchers to use pine tar or other materials to help them get a grip on the ball, even though it’s against the rules.

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Anthony Rendon’s homer leads Angels to comeback and doubleheader sweep

ANAHEIM — It’s certainly too late for this year, but the Angels may be figuring out how to win.

Anthony Rendon’s three-run homer in the seventh and final inning gave the Angels the lead on their way to a 7-6 victory over the Houston Astros and a sweep of the doubleheader.

In the first game, the Angels blew a lead in the top of the seventh and then overcame a two-run deficit in the bottom of the inning to rally for a 10-9 victory.

After that game, Manager Joe Maddon said these kind of victories are an important stepping stone for the Angels to get back to contention.

“Once you get the mindset then we’re gonna win this thing somehow as opposed to lose it somehow, then you can get a lot of positive things,” Maddon said.

The Angels have now won four games in a row after the doubleheader, which was scheduled because the Angels and Astros had a game postponed last month in Houston as Hurricane Laura approached.

The Astros were the home team for the second game, so the Angels didn’t get the chance for a second straight walk-off victory.

Rendon, and seemingly a few of the Astros, believed the game was over when he hit his homer.

“Without a doubt,” Rendon said. “As I was rounding the bases I thought, ‘Wait, it’s not over yet.”

Trailing 4-0 after two innings, the Angels tied the game with a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Albert Pujols drove in three of them.

George Springer then blasted his second homer of the game — despite Jo Adell nearly robbing Springer of a homer for the second time in the day — to put the Astros up 6-4 in the fifth.

In the seventh, Justin Upton lined a one-out single against Humberto Castellanos. Mike Trout followed with a walk, the 12th time in 14 plate appearances in the series that he had reached.

Rendon then yanked a three-run homer down the line, putting the Angels on top.

Under normal circumstances, it would have been a walk off, but this time the Angels still had to finish the bottom of the seventh. They had been unable to close out victories when three outs away in each of the first two games, blowing the leads before coming back to win.

This time, Ty Buttrey — who gave up three runs on Friday night — got the save.

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Angels need 11 innings, but win on night Mike Trout equals Tim Salmon for team’s homer record

ANAHEIM — This wasn’t the way the Angels wanted to win on a night that should have been about celebrating Mike Trout for equaling the franchise homer record, but they aren’t in position to apologize for any victories in this forgettable season.

Ty Buttrey and Matt Andriese and combined to blow a three-run lead in the ninth inning, before the Angels came back to beat the Houston Astros 6-5 in 11 innings.

The Angels won for just the second time in seven extra-inning games. Andriese stranded the automatic runner in the 10th and 11th.

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout celebrates his two-run home run with coaches as he returns to the dugout during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Houston Astros, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Houston Astros’ Kyle Tucker watches his RBI double that tied the score during the ninth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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  • Los Angeles Angels left fielder Taylor Ward runs down a ball hit by Houston Astros’ Yuli Gurriel, making the catch for the out during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels singles during the sixth inning of a game against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 04, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Houston Astros’ George Springer watches as a ball hit by Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout clears the wall for a two-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Houston Astros, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Andrelton Simmons #2 congratulates Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels after his two-run homerun during the first inning of a game against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 04, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, left, of Japan, safely slides back to second base as Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa applies a late tag during the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Houston Astros’ Kyle Tucker, left, reaches second base with a double ahead of the tag by Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Anthony Rendon #6 scores on a sacrifice fly by Taylor Ward #3 of the Los Angeles Angels as Martin Maldonado #15 of the Houston Astros awaits the throw during the first inning of a game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 04, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout, right, and Andrelton Simmons round the bases after a two-run home run by Trout during the first inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Dylan Bundy throws against the Houston Astros during the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Houston Astros’ Carlos Correa hits an RBI-double during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Houston Astros’ Yuli Gurriel, left, is greeted by Aledmys Diaz after scoring on a double hit by Carlos Correa during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels rounds second base after hitting a two-run home run during the first inning of a game against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 04, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado points toward first base during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, of Japan, watches after hitting a fly ball during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Houston Astros relief pitcher Luis Garcia throws to a Los Angeles Angels batter during the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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Trout struck out to strand the winning the run in the 10th, the first out he’d made all night. In the 11th he started at second and scored on Shohei Ohtani’s one-out single, his first career walk-off hit.

The Angels avoided what certainly would have been an agonizing loss on a night that Trout hit his 299th homer, equaling Tim Salmon atop the Angels all-time leaderboard.

Trout’s first-inning two-run homer against Lance McCullers Jr. sailed over the center field fence, pulling Trout even with Salmon in his 1,234th game. Salmon played 1,672 games with the Angels.

“Tim’s a great person,” Trout said on Thursday. “I got to know him over the years. It’s pretty cool. We’re always linked together because of our last names. Looking back on his career, what an unbelievable career. Just the way he represented the the Angels organization with such class. I hear nothing but great things about him. Every chance I get to talk to him when he’s around the ballpark, I take advantage of it.”

The moment was special for Joe Maddon, who often tells the story about how he helped sign Salmon when he was an Angels scout.

“This is just the beginning for Mike,” Maddon said. “I’m very happy for both these guys. It’s pretty cool, right?”

Trout’s homer, which gave him the major-league lead with 14 until the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. tied him later in the night, was part of a three-run first inning. Jared Walsh homered to make it 4-0 in the third.

After that, though, the game was a story of players overcoming adversity, which Maddon enjoyed thoroughly.

First was Dylan Bundy, who was in trouble in the fourth inning. He had allowed two runs, cutting the lead in half, and the bullpen was in action. Cameras showed Bundy visibly upset at the action in the bullpen, and he didn’t hide his displeasure later.

“It motivates you when you see the bullpen up in the fourth inning as a starter and you’re not happy,” Bundy said. “It fires you up. And who knows, maybe I needed it.”

Maddon later said with a smile: “He got better.”

Sure enough, Bundy escaped the fourth with two strikeouts, and then he worked three more innings in dominating fashion, including three straight strikeouts to end the seventh.

The bullpen then inherited a three-run lead. They nearly blew it in the eighth, with Mike Mayers loading the bases before Luke Bard escaped, with the 5-2 lead intact.

In the ninth, Buttrey got the ball and he gave up ringing base hits to three of the four batters he faced. Buttrey allowed the Astros to get within 5-4 before he was pulled with two outs to go.

Andriese then entered. He retired Yuli Gurriel on a fly ball to shallow left — a nice catch by Taylor Ward — but then he gave up a game-tying double to Kyle Tucker.

Andriese struck out Carlos Correa to preserve the tie, though, and he would pick up six more outs after that, all with the go-ahead run in scoring position.

“Andriese, you cannot give him enough praise for what he did tonight,” Maddon said. “Just one mistake to Tucker. … He did not cave. I’ve been around a lot of guys that once that gate opens, they lose a little bit. He got two more innings for us right there, against a lineup that was really into that ballgame. It was awesome. Andriese did a helluva job and it needs to be recognized.”

Andriese kept the game tied long enough for Ohtani to get a crack. He had struggled all year, especially against lefties, but with one out in the 11th, he lined a single into right field against lefty Brooks Raley, ending the game.

“I love it,” Maddon said. “I love when we get a bunch of guys like that, that are not going to be denied and that’s really what it comes down to. There’s no big secret. They came back. They’re a championship-caliber team. They came back. And once you’ve attained that, earned that heart in your chest, you play that way in the latter parts of games. That’s what we need to do.”

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