Taylor Ward and Shohei Ohtani home runs power Angels to sixth consecutive win

Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani, of Japan, hits a solo home run during the first inning.
Angels star Shohei Ohtani hits a solo home run during the first inning of a 5-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday.
(Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

Taylor Ward and Shohei Ohtani hit first-inning solo home runs off Lucas Giolito and the Angels rode a combined three-hitter to their sixth straight win, 5-1 over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.

Ward finished with three hits and two RBIs, and Ohtani scored three runs as the Angels used seven pitchers to climb seven games over .500 for the first time since June 11, 2018.

Anthony Rendon had two doubles and an RBI and David Fletcher added two doubles in his return from a hip injury.


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The Angels had 13 hits, eight for extra bases. Ward said opposing pitchers should be wary of Los Angeles’s deep and sweet-swinging lineup.

“Absolutely. I think they should be scared,” said Ward, whose HR was his fifth of the season and fourth in five games. “We’re looking for pitches in a certain area as a team. When you have nine guys solidifying their approach like that, it’s really hard for pitchers.

“We’ve got to stick to our approach, like I said, and continue to roll.”

Tim Anderson had two hits for the White Sox, who have dropped 10 of 11. Anderson doubled in the bottom of the first and scored, but Chicago didn’t get another hit until Jose Abreu singled with two outs in the seventh.

Los Angeles pitchers retired 18 straight White Sox batters on a night when scheduled Angels starter Noah Syndergaard was scratched because of an undisclosed illness. Manager Joe Maddon said Syndergaard “wasn’t feeling well” before the game, but wouldn’t elaborate on the symptoms.

Angels baserunner Anthony Rendon, right, slides safely into second base after hitting a double Friday.
(Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press)

Jimmy Herget stepped in to start and tossed three innings, allowing a run and one hit. Austin Warren (2-0) followed with two perfect innings and Archie Bradley tossed a 1-2-3 sixth.


Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera followed with a scoreless inning each. Mike Mayers got the first out of ninth, but allowed Anderson’s second hit and struck Andrew Vaughn with a pitch. Raisel Iglesias got the final two outs and his sixth save as the White Sox loaded the bases.

“We’ve got a pretty good staff,“ Herget said. “Once everybody’s clicking and stuff, we’re going to be tough to beat. It’s amazing, we feel unbeatable at this point.”

Maddon added: “It was kind of formulaic. Our bullpen, man for man, did a great job.”

Ohtani’s fourth homer ended a 10-game longball drought for the two-way Japanese-born star, who hit 46 last season.

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Giolito (0-1) allowed three and five hits while striking out seven in six innings, his longest outing this season. The White Sox ace settled down in his third start, and second after missing two weeks with an abdominal strain he suffered on opening day in Detroit.

“I would have liked to execute some more pitches than I did in the first inning,” Giolito said. “A couple of poor pitches, a couple of home runs.”

The White Sox tagged a few balls, but Angels fielders were able to grab them.

“I saw something like seven balls with over 100 (mph) exit velocity or whatever,” Giolito said. “Just got the short end of the stick there.”


Ward smacked the first leadoff homer of his career to left on an Giolito’s 0-1 curveball to start the first. Ohtani’s shot to left-center with two outs made it 2-0 .

“Came out and punched them early, that was big too,” Maddon said. “Giolito was outstanding and they have a very good lineup despite the fact they’re missing some guys.”

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Should the Angels and White Sox be forced to play a doubleheader Sunday — heavy rain is in the forecast for Saturday in Chicago — Maddon hinted Syndergaard might be available to start.

Syndergaard is 2-0 with a 1.04 in his first two starts with the Angels in a comeback attempt. He signed a one-year, $21 million contract with Los Angeles in November after being limited to only two innings the past two years following Tommy John surgery in March 2020.

Trainer’s room

Angels: Fletcher started at shortstop after being out since April 11. Los Angeles optioned infielder Jack Mayfield to its taxi squad in a corresponding move, the Angels’ first roster change in 10 days.


White Sox: Luis Robert was back in center field after missing six games with a groin strain. RHP Ryan Burr (strained right shoulder) returned from rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte and pitched in the ninth. RHP Kyle Crick was optioned to the farm club.

Up next

Angels LHP Jose Suarez (0-1, 5.54) is scheduled to face White Sox RHP Vince Velasquez (0-2, 6.75) on Saturday afternoon.