Ten pitches into the game, I was about ready to give in to apathy. Thirteen consecutive losses to Cleveland seemed to be well within sight. Then Garrett Richards ran his pitch count up to 25 before finally managing to dispatch his third batter and that apathy gave way to frustration.
It came as no surprise to all of us when Cozart followed that up by flying out deeply to center.
But then Trout batted. And then Upton. And then Pujols.
And as the inning went on, our disappointment gave way to hope. Shohei Ohtani was walking up to the plate in what was now a tie game with the bases loaded and two outs. Many of us couldn’t help ourselves.
“Wouldn’t it be crazy if he hit a grand slam right here?”
When the wild pitch scored Calhoun shortly afterward, I laughed off the tension. Ohtani could go ahead and single or strike out or whatever. We were out in front now. No big deal.
Then Ohtani broke baseball.
He broke the Internet.
He broke the Mariners.
And it was all so magnificent.
Ohtani blasted it over the wall in right field, the Angels had a sizable lead over the team that had been tormenting them for years, and Tomlin became one of my favorite non-Angel pitchers. I could practically hear the stadium from my computer desk over 2000 miles away. Regardless of the final score, this was going to be a night to remember for every single one of us.
Then the home runs and the base hits kept coming. Extra base hit after extra base hit was mashed tonight. Every starter but Cozart had a hit, and of those 8, only Calhoun had fewer than 2 total bases. Five different players smacked home runs, two of which tested the new lowered home run line in right field.
All of this torrential offense the night after the Angels had been depressingly shut out completely masked the fact the Indians were ONE-HIT. Garrett Richards, no doubt energized by the Halo Blitz in the bottom of the first, dug in and went on to pitch 5.2 innings and strike out a vintage-Richards-level 9. Then Jim Johnson and the Blakes Wood and Parker came in to firmly and satisfyingly slam the door shut.
Bookmark the game thread before it gets hidden for easy access. You’re going to want to look back on it for years to come.