Shohei Ohtani flexes power, finesse on mound in Angels’ win

  • The Angels’ Max Stassi celebrates with Shohei Ohtani after hitting a home run during the first inning of Tuesday’s game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium. finished 3 for 4, a triple short of the cycle, in the Angels’ 5-3 win. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 06, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 06, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Boston’s Kiké Hernandez is safe at second base after Angels shortstop Jose Iglesias, left, doesn’t catch a throw to second during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Boston’s Kiké Hernandez slides into second base with a double against Jose Iglesias #4 of the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 06, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Boston’s Kiké Hernandez, left, celebrates with teammate Xander Bogaerts (2) after scoring off of a sacrifice fly hit by J.D. Martinez during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels is checked for foreign substances during a game against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 06, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Red Sox starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (17) throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Max Stassi (33) hits a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Max Stassi (33) runs the bases after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani (17) celebrates in the dugout after scoring off of a home run hit by Max Stassi during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 06, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo (99) points after doubling during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani throws to the plate during the first inning of Tuesday’s game against the Red Sox at Angel Stadium. Ohtani held AL East-leading Boston to two runs over seven innings and had an RBI double in a 5-3 victory over the Red Sox. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Connor Wong #74 of the Boston Red Sox gestures from second base after hitting a double against the Los Angeles Angels in the fifth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 06, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox hits a single against the Los Angeles Angels in the fifth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 06, 2021 in Anaheim, California. Connor Wong scored. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • J.D. Martinez #28 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates his single with first base cocah Tom Goodwin #82 against the Los Angeles Angels in the fifth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 06, 2021 in Anaheim, California. Connor Wong scored. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) throws during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Boston Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts (2) flies out to center field during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels right fielder Taylor Ward (3) and center fielder Juan Lagares (19) celebrate after Lagares caught a fly ball hit by Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) during the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Brandon Workman (44) throws during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani (17) reacts to striking out during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • The Angels’ Max Stassi (33) singles during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Boston Red Sox’s Rafael Devers, left, is safe at second base on a passed ball during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. Los Angeles Angels’ David Fletcher (22) is at right. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox reacts to a call before being subbed out of the game against the Los Angeles Angels in the sixth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 06, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Raisel Iglesias #32 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches against the Boston Red Sox in the ninth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 06, 2021 in Anaheim, California. The Los Angeles Angels won, 5-3. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Hunter Renfroe #10 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the ninth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 06, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Boston Red Sox’s Hunter Renfroe (10) celebrates in the dugout after hitting a home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Raisel Iglesias #32 of the Los Angeles Angels celebrates after closing out the ninth inning to defeat the Boston Red Sox 5-3 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 06, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Angels relief pitcher Raisel Iglesias celebrates with catcher Max Stassi, right, after closing out their 5-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

  • Angels relief pitcher Raisel Iglesias celebrates with catcher Max Stassi, right, after closing out their 5-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • A fan fits a baseball through a hole in the net to get an autograph from Angels right fielder Taylor Ward, right, before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

of

Expand

ANAHEIM ― As a hitter, Shohei Ohtani has evolved into the most prolific slugger in the game. He didn’t add to his major league-leading total of 31 home runs against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, but it was not for lack of effort. Even his swings and misses elicited oohs and ahhs from the announced crowd of 28,669 at Angel Stadium.

As a pitcher, Ohtani alternated between power and finesse for seven innings in a 5-3 Angels victory. The fourth inning ended when Ohtani got Rafael Devers to ground out on a 99-mph fastball. The fifth inning ended when Ohtani got Danny Santana to fly out on a 68-mph curveball.

When the seventh inning ended, Ohtani received a standing ovation for his 89-pitch effort. It was not flashy; Ohtani’s opponent, Nathan Eovaldi, coaxed more swings and misses from the opposing lineup. But it was more than enough to give a beleaguered bullpen a breather, and give the Angels an uplifting win over the first-place team in the American League East.

Ohtani allowed just two runs and five hits over seven innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out four. He got help from center fielder Juan Lagares, who leaped to rob a potential two-run home run from Xander Bogaerts to end the sixth inning.

The Red Sox had been averaging five runs per game. Ohtani had faced them only once before, in April 2018, and he was knocked out after completing just two innings. On Tuesday, he made a believer of Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

“He’s a different pitcher than in ’18,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “When we came here (in April 2018) … the stuff was electric. Today, yeah, he threw hard … but he pitched. He knows what he’s doing out there. It’s amazing what he’s doing. Unreal.”

The Angels (43-42) will close out their six-game homestand on Wednesday afternoon with the rubber match against the Red Sox (54-33).

Angels catcher Max Stassi capped a three-run first inning with a two-run home run, his sixth of the season. He finished 3 for 4, a triple short of the cycle. David Fletcher went 4 for 4 and extended his hitting streak to 20 games, the longest by an American League player this season.

Ohtani helped his own cause with an RBI double in the first inning as the Angels racked up 11 hits.

“I felt like I had good rhythm, good mechanics,” he said through his interpreter. “It was a lot different from my last start.”

Ohtani (4-1) rebounded splendidly from a brutal outing last Wednesday in the Bronx. The Yankees took advantage of four walks to score seven runs in the first inning. Ohtani recorded just two outs and saw his earned-run average swell from 2.58 to 3.60.

On a warm West Coast night, Ohtani’s command was not an issue Tuesday. He faced 26 hitters and went to a 3-ball count only once.

“I’m really used to the Angel Stadium mound, so it’s easy to keep my mechanics pretty steady,” he said. “When I go on the road, the mound’s different at every ballpark. I need to make that adjustment going forward.”

Ohtani said he intentionally shifted his focus from pitching for strikeouts to simply recording outs because of his opponent – a first-place team with a penchant for scoring runs.

Angels manager Joe Maddon was hopeful that Ohtani can “throttle down” more often in the future.

“I am certain he is going to follow exactly what he did tonight and how it felt,” Maddon said.

Red Sox center fielder Kiké Hernandez began the game with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by J.D. Martinez, but the Angels never trailed after the first inning. They went 4 for 11 with runners in scoring position.

In the sixth inning, they chased Eovaldi by loading the bases and scoring a pair of insurance runs. The first scored on an RBI groundout by Jose Iglesias. The next scored on an infield single by Fletcher.

Ohtani did not remain in the game as an outfielder after he exited. Mike Mayers pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Raisel Iglesias allowed a solo home run to Martinez in the ninth inning en route to his 17th save of the season.

Stassi had not caught Ohtani since his first start of the season, back in April against the Chicago White Sox. This time, Ohtani was more effective at changing speeds, dialing his fastball and curveball up or down at will. The slow curve, Stassi said, “came into the equation when I put the two (fingers) down.”

The veteran catcher recalled one at-bat in which Santana saw a 67-mph curveball from Ohtani.

“The next pitch was a 99-mph fastball,” Stassi said. “That’s just not fair.”

“He PITCHED today!”

Joe Maddon talks Ohtani’s outing, Stassi’s catching, and Lagares’ outstanding catch#WeBelieve I @Angels pic.twitter.com/qOkXYEg1Hi

— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) July 7, 2021

You don’t want to face Sho at the A. https://t.co/r9MXHuKCtR pic.twitter.com/BbHeMncTps

— MLB (@MLB) July 7, 2021

Shohei LOVES playing at the Big 🅰 ❤#WeBelieve I @Angels pic.twitter.com/CXMFXhp51j

— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) July 7, 2021

“It would probably have to have a couple outfielders fall down for me to get to third base.”

Max Stassi on his (almost) cycle😂#WeBelieve I @Angels pic.twitter.com/QPCrFLN6FH

— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) July 7, 2021

Juan really brought that back 😱 pic.twitter.com/kTQgNXKySB

— MLB (@MLB) July 7, 2021

Read more about Shohei Ohtani flexes power, finesse on mound in Angels’ win This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

Angels can’t catch a break in 8-4 loss to A’s

  • Angels starting pitcher Jose Quintana throws to the plate during the first inning of Friday’s game against the Oakland A’s at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) tags out Oakland Athletics Matt Chapman (26) at third base during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Oakland A’s starting pitcher James Kaprielian, a former Beckman High and UCLA standout, throws to the plate during the first inning of Friday’s game against the Angels at Angel Stadium. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson, left, catches a foul ball hit by Los Angeles Angels’ Taylor Ward during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Stephen Piscotty #25 of the Oakland Athletics catches a foul ball by Juan Lagares #19 of the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jose Quintana (62) throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels shortstop Jose Iglesias (4) throws to first after Oakland Athletics’ Ramon Laureano (22) was out at second during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Jose Iglesias #4 of the Los Angeles Angels throws to first base for the double play after forcing out Ramon Laureano #22 of the Oakland Athletics at second base during the third inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Mark Canha #20 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates his home run with third base coach Mark Kotsay #7 of the Oakland Athletics during the third inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels right fielder Jose Rojas (18) throws in a line drive hit by Oakland Athletics’ Chad Pinder during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. Los Angeles Angels center fielder Juan Lagares (19) is at left. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Matt Olson #28 of the Oakland Athletics slides into home plate against Drew Butera #16 of the Los Angeles Angels during the third inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels catcher Drew Butera (16) tags out Oakland Athletics’ Matt Olson (28) at home plate during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Oakland Athletics’ Mark Canha (20) celebrates after hitting a home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Oakland A’s starting pitcher James Kaprielian, a former Beckman High and UCLA standout, throws to the plate during the first inning of Friday’s game against the Angels at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) pops out to third during the third inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Jose Iglesias #4 of the Los Angeles Angels celebrates his home run with Shohei Ohtani #17 during the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Jose Iglesias (4) celebrates with designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) after hitting a home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Ramon Laureano #22 and Stephen Piscotty #25 of the Oakland Athletics misplay a fly ball during the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Chad Pinder #4 of the Oakland Athletics holds onto the ball hit by Jose Iglesias #4 of the Los Angeles Angels for an out during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: James Kaprielian #32 and Sean Murphy #12 of the Oakland Athletics walk to the dugout at the end of the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Chad Pinder #4 and Ramon Laureano #22 of the Oakland Athletics celebrate with Stephen Piscotty #25 after they scored on a double by Sean Murphy #12 during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Jared Walsh (20) runs the bases after hitting a home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Jared Walsh (20) celebrates with Jose Rojas (18) after hitting a home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Oakland Athletics second baseman Chad Pinder (4) holds on to the ball while rolling to catch a fly ball hit by Los Angeles Angels’ Jose Iglesias (4) during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Juan Lagares #19 of the Los Angeles Angels hits a two-run triple during the sixth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Jose Rojas (18) and Taylor Ward (3) celebrate after scoring off of a triple hit by Juan Lagares during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Taylor Ward #3 and Jose Rojas #18 of the Los Angeles Angels celebrate scoring off a two-RBI triple from Juan Lagares #19 during the sixth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Juan Lagares #19 of the Los Angeles Angels celebrates at third base his two-RBI triple as Matt Chapman #26 of the Oakland Athletics looks on during the sixth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Juan Lagares (19) celebrates after hitting a triple during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. Taylor Ward (3) and Jose Rojas scored. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Taylor Ward #3 and Jose Rojas #18 of the Los Angeles Angels celebrate scoring off a two-RBI triple from Juan Lagares #19 with their teammates in the dugout during the sixth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Mark Canha #20 of the Oakland Athletics slides into home plate against Drew Butera #16 of the Los Angeles Angels during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Mike Mayers #21 of the Los Angeles Angels reacts after giving up a home run to Chad Pinder #4 of the Oakland Athletics during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Chad Pinder #4 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates his three-run home run with Matt Olson #28 and Ramon Laureano #22 during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Oakland Athletics’ Chad Pinder (4) celebrates with Matt Olson (28) and Ramon Laureano (22) after they all scored on a home run hit by Pinder during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Oakland center fielder Ramon Laureano leaps to rob a home run on a ball hit by the Angels’ Anthony Rendon during the seventh inning of Friday’s game at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Oakland center fielder Ramon Laureano leaps to rob a home run on a ball hit by the Angels’ Anthony Rendon during the seventh inning of Friday’s game at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Oakland Athletics center fielder Ramon Laureano (22) catches a fly ball hit by Los Angeles Angels’ Anthony Rendon during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Ramon Laureano #22 of the Oakland Athletics reacts after catching a ball hit by Anthony Rendon #6 of the Los Angeles Angels during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Oakland Athletics center fielder Ramon Laureano, left, celebrates after catching a fly ball hit by Los Angeles Angels’ Anthony Rendon during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. Oakland Athletics left fielder Mark Canha (20) is at right. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: David Fletcher #22 of the Los Angeles Angels throws the ball to first base for the double play against Mark Canha #20 of the Oakland Athletics during the eighth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Ramon Laureano #22 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates his home run with Matt Olson #28 against the Los Angeles Angels during the ninth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: David Fletcher #22 of the Los Angeles Angels makes the double play against Matt Olson #28 of the Oakland Athletics during the ninth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Lou Trivino #62 and Sean Murphy #12 of the Oakland Athletics celebrate their 8-4 win against the Los Angeles Angels after the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – MAY 21: Mark Canha #20, Stephen Piscotty #25 and Ramon Laureano #22 of the Oakland Athletics celebrate their 8-4 win against the Los Angeles Angels after the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • The Oakland Athletics celebrate after winning 8-4 against the Los Angeles Angels in a baseball game Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • A young fan looks for his seat before a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels Friday, May 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

of

Expand

ANAHEIM ― All Anthony Rendon could do was shrug toward his own dugout, an apt metaphor for the first 45 games of the Angels’ season.

Rendon ticketed a fly ball for the Angel Stadium rocks in the seventh inning Friday night, an apparent two-run home run that would tie the score. Oakland A’s center fielder Ramon Laureano leaped above the wall in left-center and gloved the ball before it could land. The game-saving catch animated Laureano and froze out the Angels, who ultimately lost, 8-4, before an announced crowd of 14,624.

Jared Walsh and Jose Iglesias hit home runs for the Angels (19-26), who have lost four of six games on this homestand. Their 7½-game disadvantage to Oakland (27-19) now marks the difference between first and last place in the American League West.

A two-run triple by Juan Lagares allowed the Angels to take a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning. Moments later, right-hander Mike Mayers (1-3) gave the lead right back on a three-run home run by Chad Pinder.

“That’s the most frustrating way to lose for a team, when you fight, fight, fight to come back and it goes wrong,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said.

Walsh and Jose Rojas each finished with two hits. Rojas also made a trio of big plays in right field.

In the third inning, the rookie from Anaheim started a 9-4-2 relay to retire Matt Olson at home plate. In the sixth inning, he held Laureano at third base with a strong throw home. Then in the seventh inning, Rojas threw out Mark Canha trying to score from second base.

“We get our work done before games, before batting practice on a daily basis,” said Rojas, whose only other major league start in right field was Tuesday. “The comfort level is there. Now I just have to get the repetition.”

Even the Angels’ superb defensive plays were overshadowed by a pair of errors. Iglesias botched a routine throw from shortstop in the seventh inning. Pitcher Tony Watson allowed a lazy ground ball to trickle under his glove in the eighth. Shrug.

Perhaps the most frustrated Angel on Friday was starting pitcher Jose Quintana.

Seven of the A’s eight runs scored after Mayers relieved Quintana in the sixth inning. The veteran left-hander effectively dodged trouble for five innings, allowing only a solo home run by Canha before handing a 1-1 game to the bullpen. He was removed having thrown only 82 pitches.

“It’s hard; you want to keep competing,” Quintana said. “I wanted that ‘W’ for the team and for me. I want to win, and it’s hard when we go out but I respect that. We have really good relievers and it is what it is. I respect Joe’s decision.”

Oakland hit eight balls 100 mph or harder against Quintana, not including Canha’s homer. Whether through good luck or good defensive positioning, only three of them landed for hits. Quintana also walked three batters and struck out four.

He reached the end of his rope when Laureano doubled to lead off the sixth inning, then went to third base on a one-out single by Chad Pinder. Mayers inherited the unenviable first-and-third, one-out jam, walked Jed Lowrie, then allowed a two-run double to Sean Murphy. Both runs were charged to Quintana, and the A’s led 3-1.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Angels scored three runs – all with two outs – to re-take the lead. Walsh’s ninth homer of the season narrowed the deficit to 3-2 and sent A’s starter James Kaprielian to the showers. The Orange County native and former UCLA standout allowed two runs in 5⅔ innings in his second career start.

Former Angels right-hander Yusmeiro Petit took over and allowed an infield single to Taylor Ward. Rojas stroked a line drive into left field for a double, sending Ward to third base. Lagares then cleared the bases with another opposite-field line drive, this one into right field. By the time the ball was done rattling around the corner, Lagares had a triple and the Angels led 4-3.

Back on the mound to start the seventh inning, Mayers quickly got into trouble. Canha hit a routine ground ball to Iglesias, who threw the ball away for his ninth error of the season. No American League player has committed more errors.

Canha made the second out of the inning at home plate when Rojas threw a strike from right field. But Mayers walked Matt Olson, then allowed the three-run home run to Pinder.

Mayers, Watson and Raisel Iglesias “were pretty rested coming into it,” Maddon said. “They all were in good shape for tonight. What (Quintana) did permitted us to do what we wanted to do. It just didn’t work out.”

Iglesias allowed home runs to Laureano and Lowrie in the ninth inning in a non-save situation, providing the final score.

Read more about Angels can’t catch a break in 8-4 loss to A’s This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

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)

of

Expand

 

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

Powered by WPeMatico

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)

of

Expand

 

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 stars with his arm and bat, Jared Walsh hits walk-off homer to lead Angels This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

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)

of

Expand

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.

Read more about Angels’ Shohei Ohtani develops blister, loses to Dodgers in final spring training start This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

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)

of

Expand

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.”

Read more about Taylor Ward’s home run lifts Angels over Dodgers in Freeway Series opener This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

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.”

Read more about Angels rookie Elliot Soto knocks first big league hit after 10 years in minors This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

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)

  • Sound
    The gallery will resume inseconds
  • 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)

of

Expand

Read more about Freeway Series Photos: Will Smith hits go-ahead blast as Dodgers defeat Angels This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

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)

  • Sound
    The gallery will resume inseconds
  • 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)

of

Expand

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.

Read more about Rare rough start for Dylan Bundy sends Angels to another loss This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico

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.

.

Read more about Fired clubhouse worker files suit against Angels This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

Powered by WPeMatico