The good news for the Angels on Sunday is that they scored, snapping an 18-inning drought. But a seemingly never-ending rally in the fourth inning by the Rangers simultaneously sunk Andrew Heaney and confounded the Angels, wondering how a team could string so many hits together in such a short period of time.
Texas beat the Angels 7-3 on Sunday to finish off a three-game sweep, dropping the Angels to 5-11 on the season and into last place in the American League West.
Another pitching duel was brewing between Heaney and Lance Lynn, with Texas leading 1-0 to start the fourth inning. But then five hits in a six-batter stretch, plus a wild pitch and a stolen base, brought home four more runs for the Angels to put this one pretty much out of reach.
The Angels had only four hits in all of Saturday’s game, in which they were shutout, and had 17 hits for the entire three-game series.
“There’s a lot more offense in this team, I know there is,” manager Joe Maddon said after the loss.
That four-run rally knocked Heaney out before completing the inning, and he suffered the loss. It was the sixth time in 16 games an Angels starter hasn’t completed four innings this season. They’ve lost all six of those games, and are 5-5 in the rest.
More offensive woes
The second inning on Sunday epitomized the Angels’ slump. Even when things went reasonably well, they didn’t. Brian Goodwin led off the frame with a single to right field, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Then on a 2-1 pitch Jo Adell was hit on his right hand by a pitch, but was ruled to have swung, and struck out on the next pitch. Jason Castro followed with a double, but instead of driving in one or two runs, that extra-base hit was for naught, as Castro was stranded in scoring position.
All those zeroes for the Angels stopped in the fifth inning, when already trailing 5-0, Tommy La Stella hit a two-run home run against Lynn. That was their first run since the fourth inning on Friday.
Despite the slow start, the Angels did actually have opportunities on Sunday with six hits and seven walks. They had either the tying or go-ahead runs to the plate in the seventh and eighth innings. But they were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Sunday, and 1-for-18 with RISP during the series. That lone hit was a Max Stassi single in the fourth inning on Friday.
“I think we all know that when we’re clicking, we’re going to be a great team,” Heaney said. “It’s just not happening right now.”
Not so hot corner
Anthony Rendon was 0-for-3 with a walk on Sunday, and is hitless in his last 21 at-bats, dating back to last Sunday. On the season Rendon is just 4-for-39, though he does lead the team with 14 walks, giving him the rare combination of a .103 batting average and .364 on-base percentage.
“He’s not necessarily expanding the zone. He’s just missing his pitch,” Maddon said before Sunday’s game. “Once he gets hot, heads up. This is a guy that can really carry the team, and he’s really, really good in moments that matter.”
To add to the embarrassment of a three-game weekend sweep, Adell contributed a highlight that will be replayed for some time, getting turned around in right field on this fly ball by Nick Solak. a Then, well, this happened:
“It’s an embarrassing play for a fielder. It’s tough,” Maddon said. “But I went over to talk to him briefly and I thought he dealt with it well.”
Originally ruled a home run for Solak, the call was later changed to a four-base error on Adell, who at the plate was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Rough day, rough weekend.
“It’s one of those things where it sucks, you know, but it’s not the first time that that’s happened you know in baseball,” Adell said. “It’s difficult.”
Home run: Tommy La Stella (1)
WP — Lance Lynn (2-0): 5 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
LP — Andrew Heaney (1-1): 3⅔ IP, 8 hits, 5 runs, 4 strikeouts
Sv — Jonathan Hernandez (1): 1 IP, 1 strikeout
The Angels return home to begin a series with the Athletics on Monday night in Anaheim (6:40 p.m. PT, Fox Sports West). Julio Teheran starts the series opener, likely available to throw around 75 pitches in his second start, facing lefty Sean Manaea for Oakland.