Patrick Sandoval was excellent and pitched the longest outing of his major league career, but a lack of offense and one mighty swing by Joey Gallo gave this story a happy ending for the Angels, 2-0 losers to the Rangers on Saturday night in Texas.
Joe Maddon sung the praises of Sandoval for the last few weeks, and before Saturday’s game said he’d be stretched out. “I’m a big fan of the stuff and the makeup,” Maddon said. “We just have to get a more consistent delivery and the ball in the strike zone.”
For the most part, Sandoval did keep the ball in the strike zone, and pitched into the sixth inning for the first time in 11 career starts.
He got through the Rangers lineup twice without allowing a run, helped early by two double plays by catcher Robinson Chirinos, which was part of a theme on this night. Sandoval induced 12 ground balls in his 23 batters faced, and struck out four.
Sandoval got the first two outs his third time through the order, but then Todd Frazier singled and Joey Gallo launched a home run to center field, the latter winning the left-on-left matchup for the first runs of the game.
Even with the two late runs, this was a terrific outing for Sandoval, who is just the third Angels pitcher to pitch six innings in a game this season. Dylan Bundy has done it three times, and Griffin Canning once.
“I felt great,” Sandoval said after the game. “It’s good to have the trust of Joe and Mickey [Callaway, Angels pitching coach]. You can’t ask for much more than that.”
Kolby Allard, like Sandoval an Orange County product, matched zeroes with him through five, striking out six Angels in the process. David Fletcher doubled to open the first inning, but Anthony Rendon flew out to left field in between strikeouts by Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani to end what was the Angels’ best scoring opportunity of the night.
Down two runs in the eighth inning, Fletcher reached on a one out walk, but lefty Joely Rodriguez struck out Trout looking and Ian Gibaut got Rendon swinging.
It was that kind of a night for the Angels, who managed four singles and two walks against six Rangers pitchers. Dating back to Friday, the Angels haven’t scored in their last 14 innings.
“We’ve got to figure it out quickly, no question,” Maddon said after the game. “A lot of these guys, we know they’re capable of more, and I think you’re going to see that in the near future.”
Home run: Joey Gallo (4)
WP — Edinson Volquez (1-1): 1 IP, 1 hit
LP — Patrick Sandoval (0-1): 6 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
Sv — Rafael Montero (2): 3 up, 3 down
The Angels try to avoid a sweep on Sunday (11:35 a.m. PT, Fox Sports West), and all they have to do is face Lance Lynn, who has allowed one total run in three starts this season. Andrew Heaney is on the mound in the series finale for the Angels.