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Reid Detmers’ 12 strikeouts and immaculate inning can’t save Angels from another loss

Angels starting pitcher Reid Detmers delivers during the second inning of a 5-2 loss to the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
Angels pitcher Reid Detmers delivers during the second inning of a 5-2 loss to the Texas Rangers on Sunday. Detmers continues to show improvement since returning from triple A.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Reid Detmers has been much improved since returning from his brief stint in the minor leagues.

The same pitcher who threw a no-hitter in May struggled through June, including consecutive starts in which he gave up a combined nine earned runs and four home runs.

On Sunday, he put up a career-high in strikeouts (12), pitching seven innings of three-hit, two-run (one earned) baseball, throwing an immaculate inning along the way of the Angels’ 5-2 loss to the Texas Rangers.

“The adjustment he made when he went down to triple A for one start, and the guy that’s come back, he’s just been incredible,” interim manager Phil Nevin said. “He’s been able to self adjust on the mound. His presence, everything about him has been pretty good.

Angels outfielder Mike Trout, who hasn’t played since July 12, had positive news to share Sunday about the status of his back injury.

“He pitched his ass off.”

Since Detmers returned to the rotation July 8, he hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in a game. Adding to that improvement was his second inning Sunday. Detmers threw nine pitches, all strikes — on a combination of his four-seam fastball, sinker and slider — to three batters for the third immaculate inning in Angels history, joining Nolan Ryan (1972) and Garrett Richards (2014).

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Detmers is the first rookie to throw an immaculate inning and a no-hitter in the same season. The only other pitchers who accomplished the feat were Sandy Koufax, who did it three seasons in a row in 1962-64, and Mike Fiers, who did it in 2014.

“I didn’t know that. That’s pretty cool,” Detmers said modestly after being told of the achievement. “I don’t really know what to say. Stuff was working, felt good, ton of swings and misses.”

Both Detmers and Nevin attributed his slider to being the biggest difference maker in his return to the big league club.

“It’s been my go-to pitch since I’ve been back,” Detmers said. “Feels really good coming out. I feel like I can use it in any count. But for now, it’s pretty much my strikeout pitch.”

Angels right fielder Taylor Ward fields a ball hit for a three-run double by the Rangers' Ezequiel Durán.
Angels right fielder Taylor Ward, right, fields a ball hit for a three-run double by the Rangers’ Ezequiel Durán as Brandon Marsh watches during the ninth inning Sunday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Detmers has gone to his slider on 33% of his pitches this month, producing a .120 batting average against it.

“The slider’s become just a pitch that, you know, it’s gonna be talked about around the league here really soon,” Nevin said. “When you see the swings that are taken on them, like they are. It comes out just like a fastball and it just disappears.”

Despite Detmers’ command , the game did not end in the Angels’ favor.

Shohei Ohtani got the offense going in the first inning with a triple off Rangers starter Dane Dunning that fell just fair in right field. Luis Rengifo, on a full count, hit a single that bounced into left field to score Ohtani.

Ohtani‘s and Rengifo’s efforts tied the score at 1-1, after Detmers gave up a leadoff walk to Marcus Semien, who scored three batters later on Nathaniel Lowe’s single.

In the bottom of the second, Max Stassi and Brandon Marsh had consecutive singles, and Dillon Thomas walked to load the bases. Andrew Velazquez hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-1.

The Rangers tied the score in the fifth.

If the Angels decide to move Shohei Ohtani before the MLB trade deadline on Tuesday, it would be the biggest loss in a season defined by failure.

Charlie Culberson hit a double that rolled along the left-field line and bounced off the left-most corner. It was a similar play to the one that added an error to Jo Adell’s stat sheet two games prior. This time, it was Marsh who was turned around by the ball’s movement in the corner, and Culberson was able to get to third. Marsh was charged with an error.

Culberson was driven in by Elier Hernández the next at-bat for an unearned run.

“Quite frankly, he shouldn’t have given up any runs today,” Nevin said of Detmers.

The Rangers pulled away in the ninth inning after getting a single and a walk off reliever José Quijada before he was able to get the first strikeout. Quijada walked his fourth batter to load the bases and his day was done.

Raisel Iglesias came in needing two outs, but Ezequiel Durán hit Iglesias’ second pitch close to the center-right field section of the wall that Taylor Ward was unable to catch and three runs scored.


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