Even with the 2022 MLB season nearing its merciful end for the Los Angeles Angels, they are still putting in the work each and every night to improve. And with the Oakland Athletics in town, the Angels flexed their pitching muscles by putting together three quality starts.
Over the course of three games, the Angels scored just 12 runs. And yet, they swept the Athletics handily, giving up a grand total of six runs. Patrick Sandoval, Michael Lorenzen, and Shohei Ohtani covered the bulk of the innings, but the bullpen was near perfect as well.
Jimmy Herget cemented himself as a potential closer moving forward, while Logan O’Hoppe made the leap to the Majors for his big league debut. It was an eventful series in Anaheim, and it gave the Angels three wins and a confidence boost heading into their final six outings.
Below, we break down all three evenings of quality baseball and what the Angels did to secure three consecutive victories.
Game 1: Angels def. Athletics 4-3
Sandoval spent time focusing on the negative following his second-to-last start of the season, namely a second inning in which he allowed three runs on five hits and one walk. But what he failed to mention was the other 4.1 innings of his start, where he gave up zero runs on just one hit and one walk.
The Angels offense faced a 3-0 hole midway through the second frame, but quickly went to work to close the gap. In the bottom of the second, they scored three runs via a Matt Thaiss single, a Livan Soto sacrifice, and a Luis Rengifo single.
This gave Sandoval the boost he needed to finish the start strong, ultimately landing a no-decision after 5.1 innings of work. But the true hero of the night was Jo Adell, who made an impact on both sides of the ball.
In the outfield, Adell robbed Dermis Garcia of a home run in the fifth inning to keep the game tied at three. Then in the eighth, Adell singled home the game-winning run. Phil Nevin saw the evening as another sign of progress for the young outfielder.
Herget tallied his seventh save of the season with a perfect ninth inning.
Game 2: Angels def. Athletics 4-1
The Athletics once again got on the board first, scoring in the first inning when Conner Capel singled home Tony Kemp. Kemp reached via error, meaning Michael Lorenzen’s slate was kept clean. He did his best to keep the deficit at one until the Angels offense finally broke through.
In the fourth inning, Mike Trout got things started with a solo home run, tying the game at one. From there, the Halos kept the baton moving on Adrian Martinez, with Ohtani, Taylor Ward, and Thaiss reaching base consecutively. An RBI groundout from Matt Duffy made it 3-1.
Lorenzen left the game after 5.0 innings, giving up one run — zero earned — on three hits, three walks, and eight strikeouts. It was perhaps his best start since returning from injury, and he followed it up by reiterating his desire to re-sign with the Angels this offseason.
Ward would later homer in the eighth inning to secure not only Lorenzen’s victory, but the Angels’ as well.
Game 3: Angels def. Athletics 4-2
Ohtani was the headline, abstract, and entire story of Thursday night’s finale in Anaheim. Taking the mound at the Big A for the final time this season — he still has one more start in Oakland — he gave fans a gem of a start.
After walking the leadoff batter in the first inning, Ohtani proceeded to retire 22 consecutive batters, taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning. It was the closest Ohtani had ever come to a no-hitter, but he ultimately fell four outs short, giving up singles to Capel and Garcia in the eighth.
He still pitched 8.0 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and one walk with a whopping 10 strikeouts. Not only that, he notched an RBI single in the first inning following a Rengifo home run. Homers by Ward and Max Stassi accounted for the team’s other two runs.
Ryan Tepera secured his fifth save of the year after Aaron Loup gave up two runs to begin the ninth frame.
From one divisional opponent to the next, the Angels welcome the Texas Rangers to Anaheim for their final home series of the 2022 season.