More than 30,000 fans made their presence known at the Big A Monday night as the Angels and Yankees slugged their way to the finish line in the first of this three-game series. Emotions were high, baseballs were flying and it was the home team getting the last laugh when the 27th out was recorded.
The night got off on the wrong foot as spot starter Mike Mayers conceded two runs right off the bat in the first inning, allowing three consecutive hits to DJ LeMahieu (Double), Anthony Rizzo (Double) and Aaron Judge (Single), before an RBI double play off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton gave the Bronx Bombers a 2-0 lead.
Yankees starter Corey Kluber kept the Angels hitless through 3.1 innings until the fourth inning rally kicked off with a single by Phil “Goose” Gosselin. After a Jared Walsh single, outfielder Jo Adell got the Halos on the board for the first time, slicing a single past shortstop Andrew Velazquez, scoring Gosselin from third and cutting the deficit in half 2-1.
Before the game, manager Joe Maddon alluded to the fact that Jack Mayfield was in the lineup at shortstop over Jose Iglesias so the coaching staff could “get a better look at [Jack] Mayfield for the future”. The move paid off in a big way when Yankee fans across the ballpark turned silent three batters later as “Captain Jack” put the Angels in front by crushing an offspeed pitch to the bullpens in left, securing his first career grand slam and putting the Angels in front 5-2.
With Anthony Rendon out for the remainder of the season (right hip impingement surgery), Mayfield shows he can produce at the plate in the clutch, with nine home runs and 21 runs batted in during his 45 game stretch with the Angels since being plucked from the waiver wire on June 13.
This momentum shift was short lived as reliever Jose Quijada could not pitch out of the fifth, yielding RBI singles to LeMahieu and Judge, then handing the ball to Steve Cishek with inherited runners. The Bronx Bombers tied the game 5-5 as Stanton muscled a two-out single into shallow center field, scoring Rizzo. Cishek was able to wiggle out of handing the visitors the lead once again by striking Joey Gallo out swinging on five pitches.
As the Angels took a bullpen only route to tonight’s game, the Yankees took the opposite approach by sending out two starters before dipping into their relievers. With Kluber exiting after four, former Angel Andrew Heaney was welcomed back to the Big A with a thunderous roar, but it was not from the fans, it was off the bat of AL MVP frontrunner Shohei Ohtani. The two-way star continues to drop our jaws in awe and on this night, his league-leading 42nd home run, or known by others as “Moonshot Heard Round The World”, broke the tie in one swing 6-5.
Clutch hitting from Juan Lagares came in need for the first time in the bottom of the sixth as he added an insurance run by clanging a two-out triple off the right field wall and bringing Max Stassi in from second for an extended 7-5 lead.
Reliever Junior Guerra, who ended up recording the win after tossing two innings, did not have a clean outing thanks in part to the power of Stanton. The former NL MVP (2017) mashed a two-run blast halfway up the rockpile (457 feet) to even the scorecard at seven apiece.
As the seesaw battle ensued, Lagares provided the final blow offensively late in the eighth inning. Things started with hot hitting Brandon Marsh extending his hitting streak to three games with a leadoff single, then moving to third with two outs after back-to-back groundouts. Lagares fought toe-to-toe with pinstripe reliever Wandy Peralta, eventually succeeding on the fifth pitch of the at-bat with a single down the left field and Marsh strolling in easily for the 8-7 lead.
Closer Raisel Iglesias got down to business in the ninth inning, darting through the heart of the Yankees lineup in 10 pitches and sealing the victory by striking out Judge. With this being his 28th save of the season and an ERA lowering to 2.75, the need to extend [Raisel] Iglesias is becoming more and more apparent.
With tonight taking the Yankees and their fans by surprise, the Halos extend their winning streak to two games and inch closer back to .500 as they now sit 65-67 and 9.5 games back of the Boston Red Sox for the final AL Wild Card berth. Game two of this series starts tomorrow at 6:38 p.m. as RHP Jaime Barria (2-2, 5.56 ERA) takes the mound against fellow righty Jameson Taillon (8-4, 4.18 ERA).
Angels News & Notes
- RHP Alex Cobb threw a 30-Pitch bullpen session this afternoon and said “it went well”. This was his second bullpen in the past week and the Angels will now decide what step comes next in his rehab (right wrist inflammation)
- RHP Jaime Barria will start tomorrow’s game instead of RHP Shohei Ohtani after he was scratched for precautionary reason after getting hit in the hand this past Saturday against San Diego
- 8 of 9 starters (excluding Fletcher) recorded a hit, with Lagares recording his 13th multi-hit game of the season