Fletcher batted leadoff for the fifth time in five games on Tuesday night, but this time he started at shortstop instead of third base, with Andrelton Simmons placed on the injured list with a left ankle sprain before the game.
Fletcher had two singles and two walks on the night, his second time in three games reaching base four times. On the season, Fletcher is 10-for-18 (.556) with a .609 on-base percentage.
The Angels rallied for a pair of runs in the third inning, but catcher Max Stassi’s first home run of the year, a three-run shot in the fourth, gave them some breathing room.
It was one of three home runs on the night for the Angels, including a solo shot by Albert Pujols in the fifth and a two-run shot by Anthony Rendon in the eighth.
Rendon wasted no time making his presence known. pic.twitter.com/exJD68Jkqn— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) July 29, 2020
The home run was Rendon’s first hit as an Angel, though he also walked twice and scored twice in his first game of the season.
Patrick Sandoval was sharp on the mound in his first start of the season, striking out four in his four-plus innings. He allowed only one run in his first four innings, then allowed an unearned run in facing two batters to open the fifth.
He got 11 swings and misses in his 62 pitches on the night, 10 coming from his slider and changeup combined.
“He’s a classic example of a young man needing opportunity, that’s it,” manager Joe Maddon said before Tuesday’s game. “With opportunity and some confidence, the sky’s the limit.”
As good as Sandoval was, the bullpen was even better, with five pitchers each tossing a scoreless frame, combining for seven strikeouts and one walk.
Home runs: Max Stassi (1), Albert Pujols (1), Anthony Rendon (1); Tim Lopes (1)
WP — Ryan Buchter (1-0): 1 IP, 1 strikeout
LP — Justin Sheffield (0-1): 3 IP, 3 hits, 4 runs, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts
Andrew Heaney makes his second start of the season on Wednesday night (7:10 p.m. PT; Fox Sports West, ESPN). Justin Dunn makes the start for the Mariners.