'I paid for it': Sandoval hurt by error, HRs

July 19th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- Lefty matched a career high he set just last week by going seven innings against the Mariners on Sunday, but he was hurt by an error in the first inning and a pair of homers.

Sandoval, coming off an outing in which he limited Seattle to two runs over seven innings on July 10, was charged with six runs (four earned) on six hits and one walk in a 7-4 loss in the series finale at Angel Stadium. It was the 10th start of the season for Sandoval, who dropped to 2-4 with a 3.56 ERA since joining the rotation on May 17. The four earned runs allowed were his most over that stretch.

"I felt like I didn't make a couple good pitches and I paid for it,” Sandoval said. “I'm happy with the way I finished. The last couple innings were encouraging. I'm just bummed that six runs doesn't really give us a chance to win."

Sandoval, though, still looked sharp and struck out nine, throwing 101 pitches to record 21 outs. Sandoval registered 16 swinging strikes, including seven with his changeup, despite pitching with slightly lower velocity than usual. He was struck on his left wrist by a comebacker from Ty France in the first, but remained in the game and said it could’ve had an effect on his velocity.

Sandoval rebounded to get Kyle Seager to pop out and appeared to escape the jam by getting Luis Torrens to ground to first baseman Jared Walsh. But Walsh, who was shifted away from first base, briefly lost his footing and was forced to throw to Sandoval as he raced from the mound after getting a late break. Walsh's throw sailed past Sandoval, allowing two runs to score.

“The biggest mistake he made all day was not covering first base,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “Otherwise, he had a really good day. Giving up two runs in the first really hurt.”

Sandoval settled down from there, getting a double-player grounder in the second and retiring seven of the next eight batters he faced. However, he surrendered a solo homer to Torrens on a 1-1 fastball just above the zone in the fourth. He ran into trouble again in the fifth, allowing singles to Dylan Moore and Mitch Haniger before France delivered the game-altering blow with a three-run blast on a 1-1 changeup over the middle of the plate.

Again, Sandoval bounced back after the homer, retiring the last seven batters he faced, including five by strikeout. It helped him finish his outing on a high note, though the damage was already done. He's now surrendered 10 homers in 63 innings this year.

"He got better game-in-progress," Maddon said. "France hit a low changeup, which doesn't happen very often. And the other one [to Torrens], sometimes you just give up a homer. But I thought it was really good and I thought he finished even better."

Despite the loss, Sandoval believes he can build on this outing, knowing he just has to execute better in big situations.

"I thought it was a good learning experience," Sandoval said. "Stuff was not going my way this game. I didn't have my best stuff in those middle innings. My velo was down. But I just found a way to get through it and the guys behind me were making great plays. I think it's just the mentality of not giving in when things aren't going your way, and I think that was the biggest thing today.