Shohei Ohtani sharp, but Angels fall to Rays in 10 innings

Shohei Ohtani sharp but Angels fall to Rays in 10

The Angels ran out of pixie dust on Wednesday, a magical week that began with Sunday’s dramatic walk-off win over Washington, Shohei Ohtani’s first-ever grand slam on Monday and Reid Detmers’ no-hitter on Tuesday hitting a snag in a 4-2, 10-inning loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in Angel Stadium.

Taylor Ward breathed life into a sagging Angels offense with a pinch-hit, two-run homer to tie the score 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth, but the Rays rallied for two runs off left-hander Aaron Loup in the top of the 10th to snap the Angels’ three-game win streak.

Vidal Brujan led off the 10th with an RBI double to left to score automatic runner Kevin Kiermaier for a 3-2 Rays lead. Taylor Walls grounded out to third, but Harold Ramirez stroked a pinch-hit RBI single to center for a 4-2 lead. Loup struck out Yandy Diaz and Wander Franco to end the inning.

The Angels put runners on first and third with one out in the bottom of the 10th when Mike Trout drew a pinch-hit walk, but left-hander Tampa Bay left-hander Brooks Raley got Ward to hit into a fielder’s choice and struck out Brandon Marsh to end the game.

The Angels pounded the Rays for 12 runs and 18 hits, including four homers, in Tuesday night’s 12-0 win, eight of the runs and 11 of the hits coming off two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber.

But those booming bats were silenced Wednesday by left-hander Shane McClanahan, who mixed a 97-mph fastball, 81-mph curve and 88-mph changeup to blank the Angels on three hits over seven innings, tying a career-high with 11 strikeouts and walking one.

A call to the Rays bullpen and right-hander Andrew Kittredge provided a lifeline for the Angels in the eighth. Jack Mayfield opened with an opposite-field single to right field and was rubbed out on Tyler Wade’s fielder’s-choice grounder.

Ward, who missed the first two games of the series because of right-hamstring tightness, came on to hit for Andrew Velazquez and fell behind with a 1-and-2 count.

But he somehow got enough of his barrel on a 95.7-mph inside sinking fastball to keep his 386-foot drive down the left-field line fair for a two-run homer and a 2-2 tie, the Angels’ first pinch-hit homer since Jared Walsh’s shot against Cleveland on Sept. 9, 2019.

Ohtani wasn’t as dominant on the mound as he was last Thursday in Fenway Park, when he threw seven scoreless innings, giving up six hits, striking out 11, throwing 81 of 99 pitches (82%) for strikes and inducing a career-high 29 swinging strikes, in an 8-0 win over the Boston Red Sox.

But the right-hander looked sharp in his six-inning start, giving up one run and two hits in six innings, striking out five and walking two, his only glaring mistake a hanging 0-and-1 split-fingered fastball to Kiermaier, who drove it into the right-center field seats for a solo homer and a 1-0 lead in the second.

Ohtani blanked the Rays on one hit from the third through sixth innings, and with his pitch count approaching 90, it appeared manager Joe Maddon would pull Ohtani when Randy Arozarena came up with two outs in the sixth.

But Ohtani, who threw 92 pitches in the game, 57 for strikes, politely waved off Maddon, remained in the game and struck out Arozarena looking at an 80-mph curve to end the inning.

Jimmy Herget replaced Ohtani and struck out two in a scoreless seventh. Ryan Tepera started the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Walls, who stole second, took third on Brett Phillips’ sacrifice bunt and scored on Diaz’s RBI grounder to shortstop for a 2-0 Tampa Bay lead.

Trout was not in Wednesday’s lineup, Maddon saying he wanted to combine the break with Thursday’s off day to give the center fielder two days off. Wednesday marked the end of a stretch in which the Angels played 20 games in 20 days, and they have a double-header on Saturday against the Athletics.

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