Sandoval relies on slider in scoreless rebound outing
Angels come back to beat Mariners in 10th after watching lead slip in 9th
SEATTLE -- It was a case of being effectively wild for Angels lefty Patrick Sandoval against the Mariners on Friday night at T-Mobile Park.
Sandoval walked four and hit two batters, but limited the damage, as he allowed just three hits and struck out five over 5 1/3 scoreless innings in a 4-3 win in 10 innings in the series opener. It put an end to a rough stretch for Sandoval, who went 0-5 with a 6.20 ERA in five starts in July. He has been solid overall this season with a 3.41 ERA in 18 starts.
He didn’t factor into the decision with right-hander Jesse Chavez allowing three runs in the ninth, making Sandoval winless in his last 11 starts, but he was pleased to see the Angels get the victory with Taylor Ward providing a go-ahead sacrifice fly and Jimmy Herget throwing a scoreless 10th to get the save.
"I was lucky to get through 5 1/3 with no runs with four walks and two hit batters," Sandoval said. "But I battled and our defense made some plays. And we scored some runs. It was a good win."
Sandoval did it by throwing his slider more often than he usually does -- 44 times compared to 22 changeups, 22 sinkers, 10 four-seamers and seven curveballs. He registered five swings-and-misses with the slider and three with the changeup. Sandoval usually has a more even mix, as he has thrown both his slider and changeup 25 percent of the time this season, per Stacast.
"I just want to go in with my best pitches,” Sandoval said. “I want to play the odds with the best pitches I've got. The slider and the changeup are my two best pitches, so I'm going to throw them as much as I can."
Sandoval pitched with the lead his entire outing, as the Angels went up 1-0 in the first inning on an RBI single from Jo Adell after a two-out double from a red-hot Luis Rengifo. Catcher Max Stassi later added a two-run homer in the ninth to give the Angels some insurance that proved important with Chavez’s struggles in the ninth. It was a nice change of pace for Sandoval, who saw the offense score a combined six runs over his last five starts.
Sandoval's control problems were evident early, as he walked two batters and threw a wild pitch in the first inning. He got out of the jam by getting J.P. Crawford to ground out to short to end the inning.
Sandoval found himself in trouble again in the second, when he walked Jesse Winker with one out before giving up a single to Abraham Toro. He got Sam Haggerty to ground into a double play to end the frame.
"The walks were early and he fell into that little rut with the back-to-back walks in the first inning, but he was able to get out of it,” said interim manager Phil Nevin. “His pitch count rose a little bit, but we tried to get him through six.”
Sandoval settled down a bit until allowing a leadoff single to Toro in the fifth. He then plunked Adam Frazier with a 96 mph sinker with one out, which caused the Mariners crowd to boo because the last time the two clubs played there was a brawl at Angel Stadium. But Sandoval again used a double play to his advantage, getting Ty France to ground into one to get out of yet another jam.
"Huge,” Sandoval said. “The defense was awesome tonight. They made plays left and right and got me out of some tough jams. I'm very thankful."
Sandoval came back out for the sixth on 89 pitches, as the Angels needed some length ahead of Saturday's doubleheader. He struck out Eugenio Suárez on a 2-2 slider in the dirt to open the inning, but then hit Carlos Santana with a 2-2 fastball. Santana wasn't pleased -- and neither was Sandoval after missing his target -- but it was clearly unintentional. Sandoval promptly gave up a single to J.P. Crawford and was removed after having thrown 105 pitches.
Lefty Aaron Loup escaped further trouble before throwing a scoreless seventh. Fellow lefty José Quijada hurled a perfect eighth before Chavez scuffled in his first appearance since being traded to the Angels on Tuesday.
“Loupy did a heck of a job and Q was Q,” Nevin said. “Just the way it matched up in the eighth, with the switch-hitters and the lefty, I thought Q was the right matchup and then Chavez to finish it off. He’s a veteran guy. But he’ll have his chances again.”