No one hero as Angels take finale: 'It was all of us'

Pillar, Calhoun provide 'a shot in the arm' among 6 Halos with multihit games vs. Cardinals

May 16th, 2024

ANAHEIM -- It was the kind of wild and weird inning that has seemingly always gone against the Angels this season.

But this time it went in the Angels' favor, as they rode a strange four-run first to a 7-2 win over the Cardinals on Wednesday night at Angel Stadium.

They carried that momentum to a 14-hit night that saw multihit performances from Nolan Schanuel, Luis Guillorme, Taylor Ward, Willie Calhoun, Kevin Pillar and Zach Neto. Schanuel provided the unexpected spark, connecting on his first career leadoff homer off veteran right-hander Lance Lynn, and the Angels kept it rolling from there.

“We got it started with Schanuel and we strung some hits together,” Angels manager Ron Washington said. “And our energy level never wavered from the first inning until the end. So it was a really nice win for everyone.”

It was the fourth homer of the season and the first since May 3 for the contact-hitting Schanuel. Facing a 2-o fastball he could handle, Schanuel drove it down the right-field line to give the Angels an early lead.

Guillorme, fresh off not getting a suicide-squeeze bunt attempt down in Tuesday’s tough loss, made the most of being in the lineup again by singling on a ball that hit off the second-base bag. It was the kind of lucky hit the Angels have been searching for recently.

Calhoun followed with an RBI double into the right-center-field gap and also capitalized on a throwing error from shortstop Masyn Winn, who airmailed the throw home to try to get Guillorme.

It proved to be important, as Pillar brought in Calhoun on an infield single that hit off Lynn and deflected to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. It was another fortunate break for the Angels, and Pillar made the most of it by stealing second base.

Pillar advanced on a flyout from Logan O’Hoppe and then scored on a wild pitch from Lynn that hit off catcher Iván Herrera and caromed back to Lynn. But Lynn couldn’t handle it, and Pillar scored the inning’s fourth run.

It was the latest notable contribution from Calhoun and Pillar, who have both put together hot starts since joining the team in recent weeks. Calhoun has hit .319 with eight doubles and four RBIs in 12 games, while Pillar has batted .455 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 10 games.

"Calhoun has been swinging the bat well, along with Pillar," Washington said. "Those two veterans have given us a shot in the arm."

Mickey Moniak struck out to end the opening frame, but the damage was done and caused a frustrated Lynn to loudly scream an expletive at himself as he left the mound. It was all the Angels could score against him in five innings, but it proved to be more than enough.

Neto connected on a solo homer in the sixth off reliever Nick Robertson, and Ward added another in the seventh off Robertson. Neto said the first inning was pivotal, because it got Lynn’s pitch count up and they were able to get after the bullpen late in the game.

"It helped us out a lot," Neto said. "It helped us dig into the bullpen quite a bit and get the starter out. And got us more at-bats, which is always a good thing. And we just kept the line going from top to bottom."

It backed right-hander , who allowed one run on five hits and three walks over six solid innings. It was another strong outing for Canning, who had a 9.88 ERA through his first three starts, but has posted a 3.27 ERA over 33 innings in his last six.

"It's awesome," Canning said. "To be able to go out there with a lead that early in the game allows you to attack from the get-go. It’s just about me versus the hitter and trying to get contact and not shying away from it."

Neto called it a "complete team win," adding that it was the kind of game he believes the club can build on going forward. The offense has scuffled with so many key players out with injuries, but it was a good sign to see young players such as Neto and Schanuel step up, while veterans such as Calhoun and Pillar stayed hot.

"We have to grow as players, and I feel like today was a good step forward," Neto said. "We took that step together. It wasn’t just one person in the lineup or on the mound. It was all of us."