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Angels remain winless in bullpen games

A rumble went through Angel Stadium in the second inning Tuesday night, a brief shake that was felt in the second-deck press box.

Luckily for the Angels, a 4.4-magnitude earthquake centered near La Verne didn’t scare away any relief pitchers. They already stretched their staff with another bullpen game in which Noe Ramirez made history by throwing the first pitch.

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The Angels used seven pitchers and gave themselves a chance to win with three runs allowed on five hits but remained winless in bullpen games after a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies, their seventh loss in eight games.

Ramirez became the first player in Angels history to start a game the day after he earned a save.

Ramirez jokingly said “make way for the starter” as he walked through the clubhouse before the game. On his 11th pitch, Carlos Gonzalez hit a two-run home run and Ramirez was removed after one inning.

“Just going out there and giving up two runs to start off the game — it’s tough to our offense,” Ramirez said.

“It’s an uphill battle. It sucks. It is frustrating.”

David Fletcher went three for four. He hit a two-out, run-scoring single in the fifth inning, and in the eighth, he singled and later scored on Albert Pujols’ sacrifice to trim the Rockies’ lead to 3-2.

Shohei Ohtani pinch-hit with one out in the ninth, against closer Wade Davis, and struck out on a breaking ball in the dirt. Davis struck out Taylor Ward to end it. Mike Trout nearly tied it on a deep fly ball to center field in the eighth.

“We just missed some balls,” manager Mike Scioscia said.

The next bullpen workout for Ohtani has not been determined.

Angels shortstop David Fletcher, left, puts a late tag on Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story as Story steals second during the seventh inning on Tuesday.
Angels shortstop David Fletcher, left, puts a late tag on Colorado Rockies' Trevor Story as Story steals second during the seventh inning on Tuesday. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Scioscia said Ohtani is still being evaluated but “he feels really good, and that’s a good sign.”

Rosters expand Saturday, so the opportunity for a new arm will likely come in-house; there’s not much more general manager Billy Eppler can do.

“Billy’s looked under every rock for a starting pitcher who you can possibly exhaust,” Scioscia said. “I think it’s really going to be important for us after the first to get some pitchers up here that add a little bit of depth to our ’pen so we can absorb some of these guys that are getting back into our rotation.”

A pleasant surprise in the bullpen has been rookie Ty Buttrey, who arrived from Boston in the Ian Kinsler trade.

Buttrey went into Tuesday with three hits allowed and six strikeouts in 51/3 innings with the Angels.

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In triple A with Boston, the 6-foot-6 Buttrey worked on getting more power and break out of his curveball. He adjusted his fingers up on the ball for more spin.

“I’ve been getting swings and misses, which I have gotten all year, so that’s been a really big help,” Buttrey said.

After bouncing around nine minor league teams, he sees this as an audition to find a major league home.

“I have to go out there and show them what I’m made of and try to win a spot for next season,” Buttrey said. “Nothing’s given in this game.”

McMahon returns

The last time Ryan McMahon played at Angel Stadium, it was as a football player for Santa Ana Mater Dei. He returned as the starting first baseman for Colorado.

“Anytime you can come back home and all your old buddies roll up and all these people that had an impact on your life come out and see you play, it’s pretty cool,” McMahon said.

McMahon made the Rockies’ opening day lineup, shuttled between them and the minor leagues and has been with Colorado since late July. Not playing every day has been the biggest adjustment.

Days like Tuesday make up for it, even if the Angels weren’t his team growing up.

“I was a Dodgers fan,” McMahon said. “I liked Shawn Green.”

Short hops

Justin Upton (lacerated finger) started hitting and is hopeful to return from the disabled list Thursday, Scioscia said. … Andrew Heaney is expected to start Thursday. … Matt Shoemaker (forearm) will begin a rehabilitation assignment with class-A Inland Empire on Wednesday. … Nick Tropeano and Tyler Skaggs are playing catch but Scioscia said they’ve “got a ways to go.” … Taylor Cole was recalled from Salt Lake and Williams Jerez was optioned down.

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