The Los Angeles Angels led at three different points against the Oakland Athletics in an early afternoon series finale Wednesday. They took a 3-0 lead via a Luis Rengifo home run in the sixth inning, only for the Athletics to tie it in the seventh.
Then, in the 10th inning, Magneuris Sierra singled home Steven Duggar to make it 4-3 only for Oakland to tie it in the bottom half thanks to a Ramon Laureano infield single. But in the 12th, the Angels finally pulled away for good when Sierra doubled home Duggar once again.
All of this describes a three-game series in which the Angels were simply one step ahead of the Athletics. In a sweep, the Angels won by a total score of 11-5, shutting them out once and holding them to just one run in the first 24 innings of the series.
It marks the Angels’ first sweep since late April, when they took four straight against the Cleveland Guardians. The Angels saw impressive performances from a number of pitchers and hitters, including Jose Suarez, Shohei Ohtani, Rengifo, David Fletcher, and Sierra.
L.A. has won five of their last seven games, and completed a 14-game stretch against American League West opponents with a 7-7 record.
Game 1: Angels def. Athletics 1-0
This series kicked off with one of the best starts of Suarez’s career. He completely silenced the Athletics over 7.0 innings, allowing no runs on just two hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. It tied Suarez’s career high for strikeouts while being the second-longest start of his MLB career.
The Angels got their lone run in the very first inning, when Rengifo mashed a 434-foot home run off of Cole Irvin. Irvin wound up pitching a stellar game — 8.0 innings, one earned run, five hits, no walks, and six strikeouts — but he did not get the run support needed to steal a win.
Game 2: Angels def. Athletics 5-1
In the only game of the series where the result was never in doubt, it only makes sense that Ohtani assumed starting pitcher duties. The Angels two-way superstar showed his full arsenal on Tuesday night, despite getting hit in the foot with a comebacker midway through the game.
As a pitcher, he tossed six shutout innings while giving up four hits and three walks. He struck out five. As a batter, he went 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk, and two runs scored.
He broke numerous records and made history with this start, most notably joining Babe Ruth and two Negro Leagues stars as the only players in baseball history to win 10 games and hit 10 home runs in the same season.
A Fletcher RBI single and Taylor Ward three-run home run rounded out the rest of the scoring, while the Athletics only got on the board in the ninth inning with a Chad Pinder solo home run.
Game 3: Angels def. Athletics 5-4 (F/12)
Most of the play-by-play of this finale can be found above. But what’s missing is the breakdown of a strong outing by Touki Toussaint. Over 5.0 innings, Toussaint tossed 71 pitches and gave up no runs on two hits and two walks. He struck out six and never once had significant traffic on the bases.
Jaime Barria secured the victory by pitching all three innings of extras, and was one Laureano infield single away from three perfect frames. He faced 10 batters and recorded nine outs.
While the sources may have been unlikely, the Angels found a group of players to help lead them to victory. And as they return to Anaheim, the hope is that they can continue to rely on certain players to steal wins against higher level opponents.