It was all sunshine, swings and speed at the Big A on Sunday afternoon as the Halos kicked it into high gear for their series finale against the Houston Astros - leaving the field with a 3-1 victory that was grounded in smart base running, solid pitching and a hot offense.
Rookie Reid Detmers (7.04 ERA) earned his first career MLB win as he led the offense for six innings, giving up only one solo home run to Michael Brantley in the 3rd. After two rough starts against the Oakland A’s and the Los Angeles Dodgers, the left handed pitcher walked into today’s game with a chance to secure a win, and he did not disappoint. After keeping the Astros at 1 run and laying a solid foundation for the bullpen, Detmers handed the game off to Austen Warren (2.79 ERA) before walking away with 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 SO and 1 HR.
Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. (3.22 ERA) kept the Halos scoreless for four innings, even striking out Shohei Ohtani, who had a chance at a grand slam with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 2nd.
The wake up call to the Halos offense came in the 5th inning as the team took to the bases with a hunger for speed and an insatiable competitiveness that fueled the best offensive plays of this series. Captain Jack Mayfield steered the ship with a single that kicked off a much needed rally, but it was Ohtani’s speed that pushed the Halos to their first run. His line drive to center field was easily a single, but the young star shocked the Astros with an unbeatable sprint that earned him second base as he effectively pushed Captain Jack to third.
Everyone’s favorite clutch hitter, David Fletcher, stepped in with an RBI that scored Mayfield, put the Halos on the scoreboard and tied the game. And while the offense put in the work to support Detmers’ lead, the rest of the bullpen also showcased impressive control over an intimidating Astros lineup. Warren and José Quintana (6.12 ERA) kept the Astros’ runs at 1 while the bats woke up.
Following Ohtani’s lesson on speed, Phil the “Wild Goose” Gosselin turned a single into a double in the 6th inning, welcoming Brandon Marsh to the plate with a runner in scoring position. Marsh, who went 2-for-4 in last night’s game against the Astros, showed up to play with a bunt down the third base line - a beautiful play that can only be described as smart baseball. With Marsh on first and the Goose on third, Jo Adell’s single might have resulted in a force out for Marsh, but not before the RBI brought Goose home earned the Halos a 2-1 lead.
But the game didn’t end there. The Goose was indeed loose today, earning his 4th home run of the season in the bottom of the 8th against Astros pitcher Cristian Javier (2.87 ERA). The solo home run painted the scoreboard with a 3-1 lead for the Angels.
Despite the heat of a Sunday afternoon, Warren was cool as a cucumber on the mound in the 7th inning as he stranded 2 runners. Quintana made a brief appearance in the 8th inning before Joe Maddon brought in closer Raisel Iglesias (2.96) who earned his 26th save of the season after pitching 1.1 innings and ending the game with a strikeout against Astros second baseman Jose Altuve who received less than favorable cheers from the crowd all afternoon.
Competitive swings, smart baseball and the sunshine of a clear Sunday afternoon all worked in the Halos’ favor, as they walked away from the Astros with a .496 record. There are now 9.5 games standing between them and the second AL Wild Card Spot.
Tomorrow, your Halos take on the New York Yankees for a makeup game at 4:05 PST.