ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)Patrick Sandoval dominated the Oakland Athletics for the second straight Sunday, mixing his formidable off-speed pitches with excellent fastball control in a performance that underlined his credentials as a rising star on the Angels’ staff.
The left-hander obviously finds his job a whole lot easier when Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout are blasting homers to back him.
Ohtani hit a 443-foot leadoff home run and Trout added a solo shot while getting three hits and two RBIs in Los Angeles’ 4-1 victory.
Sandoval (3-1) struck out seven as he pitched four-hit ball into the eighth inning for the Angels, who won the final two games of the weekend series after a four-game skid. Sandoval’s ERA shrank to 1.79 after his longest start of the season, and he has yet to allow a home run or more than three runs in any start this year.
”That’s starting to be a typical performance for him,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. ”For my money, when he has fastball command, he should normally be pitching in the seventh, eighth, ninth inning. The way his stuff is, they don’t get good swings at it. Don’t get good looks at it.”
Ohtani hit his ninth home run on Cole Irvin’s second pitch, and Trout added an RBI single in the second and his 12th homer in the seventh. Trout, who also doubled in the first, struck out in the eighth to fall a triple short of the cycle for the second time in six days.
”Fireworks,” Sandoval said of his MVP-winning teammates. ”It’s awesome to see them clicking and hitting the ball. It’s great.”
Just 12 days after Angels rookie Reid Detmers threw a no-hitter at the Big A, Sandoval took a perfect game into the fourth, a no-hitter into the fifth and a two-hitter into the eighth. He has beaten the A’s in back-to-back outings, pitching a combined 13 2/3 innings of eight-hit, two-run ball against Oakland.
Kevin Smith had two hits for the A’s, and he got credit for a leadoff double in the eighth when right fielder Tyler Wade lost his easy flyball in the sun. Smith scored Oakland’s only run moments later on Cristian Pache’s bloop single.
Ryan Tepera replaced Sandoval one batter later and recorded back-to-back strikeouts to strand two runners. Raisel Iglesias pitched the ninth for his 10th save.
Sandoval flung his glove in the dugout after getting pulled, but he was frustrated at himself for not escaping the jam. Maddon liked the lefty’s reaction because it confirmed Sandoval knows he can do even more.
”I never want to come out of a game,” he said. ”When I’m not performing well, yeah, I understand. But there’s never a time I want to give the ball up. If we win, it doesn’t really matter.”
Irvin (2-2) yielded three runs on eight hits over six innings for Oakland, which has lost six of eight. The graduate of Anaheim’s Servite High School struck out four with two walks.
”He had better command today,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. ”He pounded the strike zone with all his pitches. Overall, you tip your cap to that performance.”
Ohtani came through early with a shot to dead center, clearing the ficus trees that grow behind the outfield fence. The homer was his ninth of the season and his second leading off a game.
Ohtani could have had another RBI in the second, but Kurt Suzuki didn’t try to tag up on Ohtani’s 294-foot fly to right with the bases loaded. Trout came through with a dribbling grounder against the shift that scored Suzuki anyway.
Trout walked and eventually scored his 1,001st career run on Brandon Marsh’s bloop single in the fifth.
The Angels fell just short of their eighth shutout victory in 43 games this season. That total would have led the majors and matched perpetually pitching-poor Los Angeles’ total from the three previous seasons combined.
Pache robbed Suzuki of a probable two-run homer with a leaping catch in center in the third.
”Pretty spectacular play,” Kotsay said. ”Nothing he does shocks me out there.”
Athletics: Irvin was reinstated from the injured list before his start. INF Nick Allen went back to the minors to make room.
Angels: AL batting leader Taylor Ward missed his second straight game after running into the wall Friday and incurring a stinger. Ward said he will have an MRI exam Monday, but he’s optimistic about playing Tuesday. ”My neck pain is gone,” Ward said. ”The biggest thing is getting the strength back in my arm. Just think the nerves need a little bit more time to rest.”
Athletics: Zach Logue (2-2, 2.04 ERA) will make his fourth career start Monday night when Oakland opens a three-game series at Seattle.
Angels: After a day off, Noah Syndergaard (3-2, 3.60 ERA) takes the mound against his hometown team when the Texas Rangers visit Angel Stadium on Tuesday for two games.
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