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Angels rookie Justin Anderson can't hold lead in ninth inning of 5-4 loss to Twins

Angels rookie Justin Anderson can't hold lead in ninth inning of 5-4 loss to Twins
Mike Trout reacts as Twins shortstop Ehire Adrianza catches his line drive to end the game giving the Twins a 5-4 comeback win at Angel Stadium. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

They gave away dolls featuring the likeness of Andrelton Simmons with a bobbling head on Friday at Angel Stadium.

Maybe they should have distributed dolls featuring the likeness of an Angels fan, with a shaking head.

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Because what looked like a victory over Minnesota dissolved into a stinging 5-4 loss when manager Mike Scioscia's decision to allow rookie reliever Justin Anderson to return for the ninth inning backfired.

"Justin's definitely a multi-inning guy," Scioscia said. "…We definitely felt Justin had enough to get through that ninth. Unfortunately, it didn't work."

Anderson had retired the top of the Twins' order 1-2-3 in the eighth, striking out two. In the ninth, however, he gave up a leadoff homer to Eddie Rosario and was charged with two more runs as Minnesota rallied to take the lead after Jim Johnson relieved Anderson.

The rookie hadn't pitched two innings yet but had worked more than one inning on three occasions.

Another ninth-inning decision by Scioscia also backfired when he opted to intentionally walk Max Kepler, who represented the potential go-ahead run. That potential was realized when Kepler scored on a sacrifice fly by former Angel Bobby Wilson.

Twins second baseman Brian Dozier rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the first inning of a game Friday at Angel Stadium.
Twins second baseman Brian Dozier rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the first inning of a game Friday at Angel Stadium. (Gina Ferazzi /Los Angeles Times)
Angels outfielder Justin Upton drops his bat after hitting a two-run home run against the Twins during the third inning of a game Friday at Angel Stadium.
Angels outfielder Justin Upton drops his bat after hitting a two-run home run against the Twins during the third inning of a game Friday at Angel Stadium. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Scioscia could only explain that he preferred the matchups made possible by the intentional walk.

The defeat ruined what had been excellent nights for Justin Upton and Tyler Skaggs. Upton homered for the fourth consecutive game — a career first — and Skaggs pitched well enough to win.

Upton's two-run shot off Lance Lynn in the third inning put the Angels up 3-1. He has home runs in five of six games and six of nine, all after Upton had slumped to a .228 average and .368 slugging percentage on May 1.

The last time an Angel hit more than 10 homers as the left fielder came in 2012. Upton has 10 now, with 124 games to go.

His latest blast completed a three-run rally that began with something that must have felt like a one-man revival to Kole Calhoun.

Struggling mightily and moved to the bench this week, Calhoun dropped a single into shallow left field for his first hit since May 3. Following a single by Martin Maldonado, Calhoun came home on Zack Cozart's fielder's choice for his first run since April 12. Later, Calhoun added another single for his first multi-hit game since April 11.

For Skaggs, the game marked another step forward. His ninth pitch of the night ended up as a souvenir, Brian Dozier hammering it over the fence in left.

In the first two games of this series, Dozier is six for seven with a walk, the Angels spitting the first two with the Twins while being thoroughly beaten by one of them.

Skaggs responded to that potentially deflating moment by striking out four of the next five Minnesota batters, and he was on his way to another quality start, his third of the season.

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He briefly lost his command in the third inning, giving up a two-out single and consecutive walks, but left the bases loaded by inducing a fly out.

The only other damaging swing the Twins managed off Skaggs was Rosario's solo homer in the sixth.

Other than that, he held Minnesota in check, giving the Angels' offense the time and space it would need.

Unfortunately for the home team and its fans, everything eventually went to pieces following one decision that turned sour.

Maldonado singled in the ninth, but Cozart and Mike Trout hit lasers off Fernando Rodney to center and short for the final outs.

Shohei Ohtani gets a fist bump from Angels first base coach Alfredo Griffin after hitting a single during the fifth inning.
Shohei Ohtani gets a fist bump from Angels first base coach Alfredo Griffin after hitting a single during the fifth inning. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Follow Jeff Miller on Twitter @JeffMillerMLB

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