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Masterful Heaney K's personal-best 14 in win

Career day for lefty includes stretch of 16 retired in a row
August 20, 2019

ARLINGTON -- On a blistering Texas afternoon, with his start sandwiched between a bullpen-taxing marathon the night before and the nightcap of a doubleheader a few hours later, Angels lefty Andrew Heaney set out with a simple mission against the Rangers on Tuesday at Globe Life Park. “I was just

ARLINGTON -- On a blistering Texas afternoon, with his start sandwiched between a bullpen-taxing marathon the night before and the nightcap of a doubleheader a few hours later, Angels lefty Andrew Heaney set out with a simple mission against the Rangers on Tuesday at Globe Life Park.

“I was just trying to stay cool,” Heaney said. “Conserve energy at all costs.”

Heaney was so efficient that he deserved one of those blue Energy Star stickers, like those on eco-friendly air conditioners. With the temperature on the field well into triple digits, Heaney breezed through eight innings in a 5-1 victory, striking out a career-high 14 while walking none. And with another game still to play Tuesday, Heaney’s longevity was a huge boon for the Angels after they used seven relievers in an 11-inning loss Monday night.

Box score

“Considering the circumstances … he gave us exactly what we needed,” manager Brad Ausmus said.

Heaney became only the third Angels pitcher to fan 14 without a walk, matching Frank Tanana (1975) and Dan Haren (2012). Heaney is the seventh pitcher this season to accomplish that feat, joining such luminaries as Chris Sale, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, Walker Buehler and Shane Bieber.

“I was able to keep all my pitches on line and through the strike zone – I tried to just get ahead early,” Heaney said. “Everybody knows it’s hot. [I’m] trying to get as deep into the game as I can, trying to save the bullpen, all those things.”

Heaney retired 16 batters in a row, after yielding two singles in the first inning, before he allowed a solo homer to Willie Calhoun in the sixth. The Rangers collected only one other hit off Heaney, another single in the seventh.

“He is really good,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “When he’s on, he obviously has a really good fastball. It doesn’t top the radar gun, but it has a lot of life and a lot of spin. Tough to get on top of. The thing that separated him is he was throwing changeup and curveball for strikes. He was executing his pitches well.

“It was kind of a clinic on how to pitch. We knew what we were getting, but he executed it well.”

The Halos’ starter said he sought to save power from the beginning Tuesday.

“Early in the game, I was trying to conserve a little bit until I got guys on or two strikes,” Heaney said. “I was trying to work ahead, and once I felt like I could put a guy away, or like in the first inning had a couple runners on, that’s when I tried to put my foot down. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, though.”

This time it was easier done. Heaney got the Rangers swinging on all of his strikeouts, and he threw 79 of his 108 pitches for strikes. He worked quickly throughout his crisp middle innings.

“He wasn’t out there very long -- he didn’t have long innings, didn’t have a lot of traffic, didn’t throw a lot of pitches, and was able to sit downstairs in front of the fan, in the shade, between innings,” Ausmus said. “He was very methodical going about his business. That played into him being effective and efficient.”

Before Heaney started dealing, the Angels got all the offense they needed from their second batter of the game, Mike Trout, who hit a two-run homer -- his career-high 42nd -- off starter Joe Palumbo. The Rangers’ lefty departed the game in the second with a blister on his pitching hand.

Luis Rengifo also homered, giving Los Angeles two insurance runs in the fifth. Heaney still had nine strikeouts left in the tank by that point.

Having missed 21 games with shoulder inflammation and with an ERA nearly a half a run higher than his career average entering Tuesday, Heaney said he was as pleased with Tuesday’s performance as any in recent memory.

“I want to finish strong,” Heaney said. “I understand I’ve had a disappointing season and I’m just trying to rectify that any way I can. I know it’s late, but better late than never.”