The Angels came into Wednesday evening’s matchup against the Padres looking to recapture some of the late-game magic that helped them take the first of two games in San Diego, and while they managed to make things interesting by the end of it, they ultimately fell by a final of 8-5 thanks mainly to an early deficit that proved to be too much to overcome.
The early parts of this one saw the Halos shoot themselves in the foot on a couple of different occasions, the first of which coming in the top of the second inning. After a Jared Walsh ground-rule double, a Jo Adell sacrifice bunt and a Jack Mayfield walk put runners on the corners with just one out, the Angels had a prime opportunity to strike first against Padres ace Yu Darvish. The promising chance was over as soon as it began, though, as Walsh was thrown out at home trying to score on a short fly ball by Max Stassi in what proved to be a very questionable decision.
Things only got worse in the bottom half of the inning, as the Angels bullpen had a tough go of it, to put it very lightly. Mike Mayers came out for his second frame after being the tabbed as the starter for today’s scheduled bullpen game, but a walk to Wil Myers followed by an RBI double by Adam Frazier quickly put him and the club in a 1-0 hole. Mayers got the next two batters out and looked to be on his way to getting out of the inning, but with his pitch count at a season high of 34 and two lefties due up, Joe Maddon decided to match up with lefty Sam Selman.
This move immediately backfired, with Selman allowing a two-strike hit by pitch to Trent Grisham, an RBI single to Jake Cronenworth and a walk to Manny Machado to load the bases before Maddon came out with the hook once again. The next man up was Jake Petricka, who somehow struggled even worse than Selman did. Petricka started his outing by issuing three consecutive bases-loaded walks to Fernando Tatis Jr., Eric Hosmer and Myers, and then followed that up with a wild pitch that brought home yet another run. The scoring didn’t stop there, though, as Frazier recorded his second hit of the frame to bring home two more runs before Petricka got Victor Caratini to fly out to mercifully end the inning there.
When the dust settled, the Angels came out of the second inning in an 8-0 hole, with seven of those runs coming across with two outs. This left the already shorthanded lineup in an absolutely horrible position, but they didn’t go down without a fight. The Halos struck for their first run in the fourth, when an error by Manny Machado off the bat of Phil Gosselin allowed Brandon Marsh to score from third after he tripled to lead off the inning.
Things started to get interesting in the later innings, as the Angel bats started to pick things up against the Padres bullpen once Darvish’s day was done. After Mayfield met reliever Dinelson Lamet with a quick single in the seventh, Juan Lagares punished a 0-2 hanging slider with his fifth home run of the year to bring the score to 8-3. History repeated itself the very next frame, with Adell taking a high and away fastball from Daniel Hudson over the right field wall for a two-run dinger of his own to bring the deficit down to just three. This was the latest of what has been an excellent stretch for Adell, who has hit .320/.368/.547 with three home runs in his last 15 games.
As the bats got things going, the bullpen started to figure things out. After the nightmare second inning, the group of Junior Guerra, Jose Quijada, Oliver Ortega and Andrew Wantz combined to put up six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and three walks between them while striking out nine Padres. For Ortega, it was his first action in a major-league game since being called up to the bigs a week ago, and he looked pretty impressive in his debut. He averaged 97 miles per hour on his fastball while also showcasing a breaking ball with some nice action to it during his 1.1 scoreless innings.
97 on the corner* for Oliver Ortega’s first career strikeout pic.twitter.com/ov0Sx0DylU— Halos Heaven (@halosheaven) September 9, 2021
The Angels had a chance to complete their comeback effort in the ninth, but it wasn’t meant to be, as Padres closer Mark Melancon made quick work of the bottom of the order to put an end to things. The Halos fought back to make things competitive when it looked like it would be anything but early on, but they came up short and dropped the final game of their quick two-game set against San Diego. They walk away from the series with a split, and they’ll have a day off tomorrow before traveling to Houston for three games against the Astros. Game 1 of that series kicks off at 5:10 PM PST, with Shohei Ohtani returning to the mound once again for his 21st start of the year.