Angels rally for another walk-off win to complete sweep of Orioles
At some point, the Angels will need consistently strong pitching again if they want to keep stringing together wins.
But right now, timely offense is working too.
After blowing an early four-run lead and trailing by one going into the bottom of the ninth on Sunday, the Angels rallied for a 6-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles, getting a walk-off, two-run double from Juan Lagares to complete a three-game weekend sweep and extend their winning streak to four games.
It was the third time in the last week the Angels (42-41) scored the winning run in the ninth of a game, and lifted them back over .500 for the first time since June 13.
“It’s becoming a common theme,” manager Joe Maddon said. “There’s no quit in this group.”
Here are three observations from the game.
Highlights from the Angels’ 6-5 walk-off win over the Orioles on Sunday.
Despite the winning streak, Maddon probably would prefer a more straightforward formula than what he’s gotten lately.
After the Angels scored seven runs in the ninth inning on Wednesday to beat the Yankees, then rallied from a four-run hole en route to a walk-off win over the Orioles on Friday, they once again waited until the end of Sunday’s game to strike the winning blow.
The Angels had led 4-0 earlier in the day, scoring two runs in the first on an RBI double from Jared Walsh and RBI single from Phil Gosselin, then two more in the third on solo home runs from Shohei Ohtani (his MLB-leading 31st of the season, tying Hideki Matsui’s record for most in a single season by a Japanese-born player) and Anthony Rendon.
“I’m really excited to be at the same level with somebody I looked up to since I was young,” Ohtani said through an interpreter of matching Matsui’s mark. “However, it’s still the first half, so like I’ve said before, I want to continue to build up one hit at a time.”
Shohei Ohtani has become one of baseball’s best players and a favorite to win the American League MVP award. Here are five reasons why.
The Orioles (27-57) responded, tying the game with four runs in the sixth — two apiece charged to starter Patrick Sandoval and reliever Aaron Slegers — before taking their first lead in the ninth on a solo home run from Cedric Mullins.
But in the Angels’ last trip to the plate, they needed only four batters to steal back the game.
José Iglesias led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk. Kurt Suzuki followed with a single. Then Jose Rojas roped a line drive into center after fouling off two bunt attempts.
With the bases loaded, Lagares stepped to the plate and drove an inside fastball the other way, his game-winning double banging off the wall in right-center field as the Angels poured out of the dugout to chase after him in celebration.
It was Lagares’ first career walk-off hit and the Angels’ third walk-off win of the season.
“We’ve had some interesting games,” Maddon said. “We’ve learned that about ourselves, that we believe we can come back.”
Unlike the Angels’ wins on Wednesday and Friday, when they had to overcome short outings from their starting pitchers, it was a run-down bullpen that faltered on Sunday.
The trouble in the sixth inning began with Sandoval still on the mound. Austin Hayes led off with a broken-bat infield single. Then Trey Mancini drew a walk in the next at-bat — Sandoval’s fifth of the day, though he also had seven strikeouts and yielded just two hits — to chase the left-hander from the game.
In the bullpen, however, Maddon didn’t have his full assortment of options.
With right-hander Steve Cishek unavailable after pitching the previous two days, fellow righty Aaron Slegers was summoned from the bullpen. He could only get one out though, before surrendering back-to-back doubles that scored three runs and made it a 4-3 game.
“All I was looking for right there was a ground ball,” Maddon said. “We didn’t get it.”
Another righty, Andrew Wantz, took the mound after that, making his MLB debut with the tying run at second. But he couldn’t strand his inherited runner either, giving up a game-tying bloop single with two outs.
Maddon said he considered using Mike Mayers, one of his more trusted set-up men, during the sixth inning but was wary of potentially warming him up to only sit him back down in case the Angels escaped the jam.
Mayers indeed entered later, tossing a scoreless eighth. But then Mullins hit the go-ahead homer in the ninth off closer Raisel Iglesias, who had retired his previous 25 batters before then but was also pitching for a third-straight day.
“We talked before the game and felt if we had a chance to win the game, go ahead and use him tonight,” Maddon said of Iglesias, who still earned credit for the win and has a solid 3.52 ERA this season. “Give Mullins credit. It was a 99 mph fastball he hit out. It’s not like there was a drop off in stuff. Just a good young hitter getting a good at-bat.”
Rendon, Ward leave with injuries
Rendon and Taylor Ward both left Sunday’s game with injuries. Rendon had left hamstring tightness after charging for a ground ball. Ward jammed his right index finger while diving on the bases.
Maddon, however, said the team’s training staff didn’t believe either player suffered anything serious.
“Nothing awful,” Maddon said. “I would bet neither one would play tomorrow. But if they don’t, then it should not be something elongated. That’s the original diagnosis I’ve been given.”
Rendon has already missed 20 total games this season after suffering a left groin strain in April and a left knee contusion in May. On Sunday, he came out of the game after a conversation with Maddon during a pitching change in the sixth inning, a couple at-bats after sustaining the injury on Hayes’ ground ball.
“I called him and said, ‘Listen, if that’s bothering, let’s just get you out of here,” Maddon said. “That’s what we did.”
Angels recall Jose Rojas; Justin Upton not ready to return from back injury yet
The Angels recalled Jose Rojas on Sunday, bringing the infielder back from Triple-A Salt Lake to fill an open spot on the active roster.
Rojas was recalled because injured outfielder Justin Upton (low right back strain) wasn’t ready to be reinstated from the 10-day injured list yet.
“I thought he may have been ready by now, but he’s not, so we’re just gonna have to make sure that he gets all the proper work in before he gets out there,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said.
Maddon said Upton, who has been out since June 22, still needs to do more field work before being able to return. Maddon said the team’s training staff thinks the 33-year-old should be back before the All-Star break next week.
“I’m wanting it to be any day now,” Maddon said. “There’s no pushing back. It will just be up to him and how he feels. Part of it is, he would be much more comfortable getting in some real work on the field. So we’re considering all that, trying to get it done as quickly as possible.”
Rojas, 28, made the big-league roster out of spring training but struggled in his first career MLB stint, hitting just .190 in 43 games with 35 strikeouts and only eight walks before being sent down on June 5.
“He just needs to slow things down mentally, and with that [control the] strike zone,” Maddon said. “This is a guy in spring training that walked more than he struck out. Then all of a sudden [in the regular season], that was reversed. So I just think with him, as he gets more comfortable being here and gets back to an established, organized strike zone, he’s going to hit.”
Shohei Ohtani walked three times, Alex Cobb strong in Angels’ win
It was a silent night for Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who walked three times — twice intentionally — and hit a weak grounder and lazy fly ball in Saturday night’s 4-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles before 28,160 in Angel Stadium.
There also weren’t many loud noises emanating from the bats of the Orioles, which was soothing to the ears of Angels manager Joe Maddon.
Right-hander Alex Cobb gave up one run and four hits, two of them infield singles, in 7-2/3 innings, striking out six and walking one, a 112-pitch effort that led the Angels to their fifth win in six games.
“Everything,” Maddon said, when asked what was working so well for Cobb. “The fastball was really alive. He had good overall command of it. He threw a couple of front-hippers to the lefties. The sinker looked really strong from the side. I thought his knuckle curve was outstanding when he was landing it.”
It was the first time an Angels starter completed six innings since June 23, when Ohtani threw six innings against San Francisco, and the first time an Angels starter threw a pitch in the eighth inning since Dylan Bundy last Sept. 10.
Cobb, mixing a 93-mph, sinking fastball with an 88-mph, split-fingered fastball and 84-mph knuckle-curve, provided a much-needed quality start for a rotation that gave up 33 earned runs in 22 innings of seven previous games for a 13.50 earned-run average. He improved to 6-3 and lowered his ERA from 5.09 to 4.60.
“From the middle of the game [Friday night] to going up to the game tonight, I knew this type of an outing needed to be done,” said Cobb, who gave up six runs in four innings of his previous start at Tampa Bay on June 26. “I started us off in Tampa coming out early, putting our team behind.
“We’ve kind of falling into a little trend of that. The starters are going to take some pride and try to work as deep as we can to give a breather to those guys in the bullpen, because they’ve been picking us big time, and the offense has been covering up our mistakes.”
The Angels scored twice in the first on Jared Walsh’s RBI infield single and Phil Gosselin’s fielder’s choice grounder, once in the second on Juan Lagares’ RBI double and once in the fifth when Walsh doubled and scored on Gosselin’s single.
Ohtani was intentionally walked with a runner on third and two outs in the second and sixth, the second walk eliciting angry boos, an indication that opponents are growing wary of challenging baseball’s hottest hitter.
Ohtani entered with a .333 average, 1.549 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 13 homers and 21 RBIs in his previous 15 games. He homered twice Friday, pushing his major league-leading total to 30.
No. 3 hitter Anthony Rendon struck out looking after Ohtani was walked intentionally in the second, flied to right in the sixth and is batting .237 with a .693 OPS, five homers and 33 RBIs this season.
“There’s no disrespect to Rendon who I’ve seen too many times over the years get huge hits,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I think he’s a great player and a really good hitter. Just right now, Ohtani is breathing on a planet and playing a different game than the rest of us.”
It was only the fourth and fifth intentional walks of the season for Ohtani, but there could be more in his near future until three-time American League most valuable player Mike Trout returns from a calf strain after the All-Star break, or Rendon starts raking.
Justin Upton, who is expected to return from a lower-back strain this week, could move into the third spot. Another option would be to move the left-handed-hitting Walsh, who is batting .284 with 20 homers and 60 RBIs, into the third spot, at least against right-handers.
“We have to cover it, and Anthony is just not at the top of his game right now,” Maddon said. “You can’t blame the other team for doing it. It’s up to us to make the appropriate lineup change. I know a lot of folks scoff at the concept of you have to protect [guys] but you just saw it today, and it’s true.
“When you send a lineup over and the other manager looks at it, he says, ‘No, no, this guy’s not going to beat us,’ even if it’s an unintentional intentional walk. So it’s something we have to pay attention to. When [Trout] gets back, it will present differently to the other team, but in the meantime, we have to get Anthony right and still do our best to try to protect him.”
Orioles don’t want to mess with Shohei Ohtani, walking slugger twice
Angels slugger Shohei Ohtani got one decent pitch while drawing a walk in the first inning and was intentionally walked in the second inning of Saturday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, an indication that opponents are growing more weary of challenging the red-hot two-way star.
Ohtani entered the game with a .333 batting average, .419 on-base percentage, 1.130 slugging percentage, 1.549 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 13 homers and 21 RBIs in his previous 15 games.
He homered twice in Friday night’s 8-7 come-from-behind win over the Orioles, pushing his major league-leading homer total to 30.
Ohtani followed David Fletcher’s leadoff single, which extended the second baseman’s hitting streak to a career-high 17 games, with a walk in the first inning Saturday night.
Anthony Rendon walked to load the bases. Jared Walsh’s run-scoring infield single and Phil Gosselin’s RBI fielder’s-choice grounder gave the Angels a 2-0 lead, but Max Stassi grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Jose Iglesias singled to open the second and scored on Juan Lagares’ RBI double to left-center for a 3-0 lead. Lagares took third on Fletcher’s groundout to second. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde ordered pitcher Jorge Lopez to intentionally walk Ohtani.
It was only the fourth intentional walk of the season for Ohtani, but there could be more such free passes in his near future until three-time American League most valuable player Mike Trout returns from a right-calf strain after the All-Star break or No. 3 hitter Rendon starts raking.
Another option for manager Joe Maddon would be to move the left-handed-hitting Walsh, who entered Saturday with a .281 average, 20 homers and 59 RBIs, into the third spot, at least against right-handed starters.
Baltimore cut the lead to 3-1 in the third when Domingo Leyba walked off Angels starter Alex Cobb, took third on Ramon Urias’ single to right and scored on Pat Valaika’s fielder’s-choice grounder.
Struggling right-hander Griffin Canning demoted to triple-A Salt Lake
A decision the Angels had pondered for a week or two was solidified with Griffin Canning’s latest rocky start—the struggling right-hander was sent to triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday to work on his fastball command, a demotion that appeared to stun the 25-year-old who has been a rotation mainstay since early 2019.
“When you’re in that position as a player, once you hear the words ‘we’re gonna send you out,’ you probably don’t hear another thing,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said before Saturday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles in Angel Stadium. “That’s just the way it works.
“When everything settles down, we’ll get him ensconced in the rotation up there, and then he’ll be able to process everything we’ve talked about. He’s missed up and around the zone. In order to get to these other really good pitches he has, his fastball command has to improve.”
Shohei Ohtani has become one of baseball’s best players and a favorite to win the American League MVP award. Here are five reasons why.
Canning is 5-4 with a 5.60 ERA in 14 games this season, striking out 62 and walking 28 in 62 2/3 innings. He was rocked for six earned runs and six hits, two of them homers, in 2 2/3 innings of Friday night’s 8-7 comeback win over the Orioles. He has completed six innings in just three of 13 starts.
With an off day Thursday, the Angels won’t need a sixth starter until after the All-Star break, so the timing of the demotion seemed right.
“It’s been an ongoing conversation,” Maddon said. “It’s been a struggle getting deeper into games, and his fastball command in general has not been as sharp as we’d like to see. What happened most recently, it kind of validates what you’d been thinking. And you have to react. For him and for us.
“The message is that everyone has to earn the right to be here. That’s a good thing. Go down there and get better. Find your fastball command. There’s nothing more complicated than that. He’s been very inconsistent here. He’ll be the first one to tell you that. He’ll be back, and a better version of him will return.”
Canning was replaced on the roster by 25-year-old right-hander Andrew Wantz, a swingman who was 1-0 with a 2.10 ERA in eight games — five of them starts — at Salt Lake this season. To clear a 40-man roster spot for Wantz, outfielder Scott Schebler was designated for assignment.
Mike Trout’s advice to first-time All-Star Shohei Ohtani: enjoy every minute of it
There won’t be much of a “break” in Shohei Ohtani’s All-Star break.
The Angels two-way star will participate in the home run derby at Denver’s Coors Field on July 12, he’ll start as the American League designated hitter in the July 13 game, and manager Joe Maddon is advocating that baseball “bend” its DH rules so Ohtani can pitch later in the game.
It will be full plate of media interviews and television time, high-intensity swings and a possible mound appearance for his first All-Star experience, which is why Ohtani sought out Angels center fielder and nine-time AL All-Star Mike Trout this past week for some advice on how to prepare and process all of the festivities.
“I told him to enjoy every minute of it,” said Trout, who was elected by fans as an All-Star starter but won’t play in the game because of a right-calf strain. “It’s an unbelievable experience —the players, the fans, the whole atmosphere — and being there with all the guys, it’s one of the coolest things you’re gonna do.
“And it goes by so fast, especially with him doing the derby. Ohtani being Ohtani, he’ll be pulled in every direction, but just slow everything down and enjoy every moment of it, because by the time he gets there, he’ll be heading back to Anaheim, it goes by so quick.”
Shohei Ohtani hits two home runs and scores winning run in Angels’ victory
Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani hit his 29th and 30th home runs of the season Friday.
Mike Trout won’t play in the July 13 All-Star game, a right-calf strain sidelining the Angels center fielder until shortly after the break, and he said on Friday that he hasn’t decided if he will travel to Denver for two days of All-Star festivities.
But there is one highly magnetic force that could pull the three-time American League most valuable player toward Coors Field: teammate Shohei Ohtani’s participation in the July 12 home run derby.
Ohtani belted two more homers against the Baltimore Orioles in Angel Stadium on Friday night, giving the dynamic two-way star a major league-leading 30 through 81 games, the most first-half homers in franchise history.
The slugger then flashed another of his many tools — his blazing speed — drawing a one-out walk in the ninth inning, stealing second with two outs and racing home on Jared Walsh’s run-scoring single to right field to give the Angels an 8-7, walk-off win before a crowd of 23,561.
“What he’s doing is kind of unheard of,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “Complete game. Every time he swings the bat, it looks like it could be a home run. Patience to draw a walk. A really aggressive, astute base runner. And then he pitches. His whole game is pretty spectacular to watch.”
Angels relievers Aaron Slegers, Jose Quintana, Steve Cishek, Mike Mayers and Raisel Iglesias combined for 6 1/3 innings of one-run, two-hit ball, Iglesias needing only 17 pitches — 14 of them strikes — to record five outs, and the score was tied 7-7 when Ohtani walked in the ninth.
With left-hander Paul Fry on the mound, Ohtani got the green light from Maddon and stole his 12th base of the season, putting him in scoring position for Walsh, who sent a 109-mph laser that got to right fielder Ryan McKenna before Ohtani touched third.
Ohtani was waved home by third-base coach Brian Butterfield and beat the two-hop throw with a feet-first slide that was upheld by instant replay, Ohtani laying on his back in the dirt behind home plate as his teammates swarmed him.
The Angels altered their starting rotation, with José Suarez replacing Dylan Bundy. Also, today’s game versus the Yankees was rescheduled for Aug. 16.
“As a third-base coach, you always like to see a runner get to the bag before the outfielder receives the ball,” Maddon said. “That was always the benchmark on whether to send him or not, and on top of that, [the outfield was] very tight. It was a great throw. That’s just Shohei being fast enough to score.”
Earlier in the game, Ohtani drove a first-pitch fastball from Orioles left-hander Keegan Akin 416 feet over the right-field wall for his 29th homer to lead off the third.
Ohtani then capped a three-run fourth by lining a 96-mph fastball from right-hander Dillon Tate over the left-field wall for his 30th homer, an opposite-field shot that left his bat at 111 mph, traveled 400 feet and gave the Angels a 7-6 lead.
Ohtani’s second homer took starter Griffin Canning off the hook for a potential loss. The right-hander was tagged for six runs and six hits, including homers by Trey Mancini (first inning) and Domingo Leyba (second) and Anthony Santander’s three-run double in the third, in 2 2/3 innings.
Shohei Ohtani has become one of baseball’s best players and a favorite to win the American League MVP award. Here are five reasons why.
Jose Iglesias hit a two-run homer in the second, and then it was Sho Time, Ohtani thrilling the crowd with his sixth career multi-homer game and third this season.
Ohtani has hit a 470-foot homer, four other homers that traveled 440 feet or more and one that left his bat at 117 mph this season. The combination of Ohtani’s sheer strength, Denver’s thin air and the livelier balls used in the home run derby make for an explosive power display on July 12.
“If you haven’t seen him take [batting practice], watch him in the home run derby because it’s gonna be a show,” Trout said. “He can hit, line to line, with stupid power, and to see him hit in Colorado, with those balls they use in the derby, it’s gonna be must-see TV.
“It’s such an easy swing, but it’s violent. You’ve seen it the last few weeks. He’s unconscious at the plate. Anything he hits, it’s over the fence. With those balls they use in the derby, he might leave the stadium. Honestly. I’m being serious.”
Shohei Ohtani hits another home run for Angels, giving him 30 on the season
Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani hit his second home run of the game and 30th of the season to give the Angels a 7-6 lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the fourth inning on Friday.
Shohei Ohtani hits his 29th home run of the season
Shohei Ohtani blasted out his MLB-leading 29th home run of the season against Baltimore on Friday, cutting into the Orioles’ lead in the third inning.
Ohtani has hit more home runs than any other player in Angels franchise history before the All-Star break.
Turning All-Star Game into Sho-Time would be ‘good for the game’
If Angels manager Joe Maddon had his way, he would turn the All-Star Game in Denver’s Coors Field into a Shohei Ohtani-fest, with the Angels two-way star participating in the home run derby on July 12 and hitting and pitching in the July 13 game.
“I think it’s good for the game—the maximum participation of Shohei within limits, I believe, is the right thing to do,” Maddon said before Friday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles. “That means hitting and pitching. He’s already participating in the home run derby. C’mon, what else could you possibly want?”
Ohtani is batting .277 with a 1.045 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, a major league-high 28 homers and 63 RBIs and is 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 starts on the mound. He has committed to the home run derby and was elected by fans as the American League’s starting designated hitter.
Ohtani would likely only get one at-bat, so if AL manager Kevin Cash wants to use the right-hander as a pitcher later in the game, baseball would have to relax its DH rules, which shouldn’t be an issue now that the game is purely an exhibition and no longer tied to home-field advantage in the World Series.
Maddon said he spoke to Cash in Tampa Bay during the last road trip about how the Angels would like to see Ohtani used in the game.
“It’s stuff I’ve been promoting for a long time, that he should be able to pitch and hit in the same game,” Maddon said. “Think about it. The home run derby, pitching and hitting in the game … that doesn’t happen often. This is the one time where even the non-baseball fan can really latch onto this and be interested.”
Angels’ rally against Yankees stirs memories of an even bigger ninth-inning comeback in the Bronx
As impressive as Wednesday night’s 11-8 win over the New York Yankees was, the Angels scoring seven ninth-inning runs, including Jared Walsh’s score-tying grand slam off closer Aroldis Chapman, to overcome an 8-4 deficit, it wasn’t the largest ninth-inning deficit the team has erased in the Bronx.
On Aug. 18, 2000, the Angels scored five runs in the ninth inning off seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, Jeff Nelson and Hall-of-Fame closer Mariano Rivera, a rally capped by Mo Vaughn’s game-tying three-run homer in old Yankee Stadium.
Left fielder Darin Erstad saved the game with a phenomenal diving catch of Jorge Posada’s drive to the gap in the 10th inning, a full-extension effort that manager Mike Scioscia described as “incredible,” and then homered off left-hander Mike Stanton in the 11th to will the Angels to a 9-8 victory.
Angels manager Joe Maddon was the bench coach on the 2000 team, but he said he did not have flashbacks of that 2000 comeback as he watched his team endure a pair of rain delays that totaled about two hours before pulling out an emotional victory.
“This game really stood on its own, with the rain delays, Chappy, who has been pretty much lock-down his whole life, coming in,” Maddon said of Wednesday night’s game. “Thing I felt good about, if makes any sense at all, is that our guys had a really good energy about them the whole night.
“They were there forever, and we wanted to play, nobody wanted to go home, nobody wanted to concede anything. … The energy was high the whole time.”
Griffin Canning to start first game of homestand against Orioles
Angels right-hander Griffin Canning, whose scheduled start in Yankee Stadium on Thursday was rained out, will oppose Baltimore Orioles left-hander Keegan Akin in a 7 p.m. game in Angel Stadium. Canning is 5-4 with a 4.95 ERA this season; Akin is 0-4 with a 7.11 ERA.
ANGELS LINEUP: 2B David Fletcher, DH Shohei Ohtani, 3B Anthony Rendon, 1B Jared Walsh, LF Phil Gosselin, C Max Stassi, SS Jose Iglesias, RF Waylor Ward, CF Juan Lagares, RHP Griffin Canning.
ORIOLES LINEUP: CF Cedric Mullins, LF Austin Hays, DH Trey Mancini, 1B Ryan Mountcastle, RF Anthony Santander, C Pedro Severino, 3B Domingo Leyba, SS Ramon Urias, 2B Pat Valaika, LHP Keegan Akin.
Shohei Ohtani named American League player of the month
Shohei Ohtani won his first American League Player of the Month award after batting .309 (25 for 81) with an .889 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 13 home runs, 23 RBIs, six doubles, a triple, 20 runs and four stolen bases in June.
The Angels two-way star joined Mike Trout (2014 and 2018), Troy Glaus (2000) and Don Baylor (1978-79) as the only players in franchise history to record at least 20 homers and 10 stolen bases before the All-Star break.
He enters Friday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles in Angel Stadium with a major league-high 28 homers, six of them coming over a six-game stretch from June 15-20.