ANAHEIM -- The Angels' bats, after a recent renaissance, faltered in their production on Saturday night, unable to notch hits in key situations -- going 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position -- in a 5-3, 12-inning loss to the Twins at Angel Stadium. The Halos are now a game behind
ANAHEIM -- The Angels' bats, after a recent renaissance, faltered in their production on Saturday night, unable to notch hits in key situations -- going 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position -- in a 5-3, 12-inning loss to the Twins at Angel Stadium. The Halos are now a game behind the Astros for first place in the American League West.
With a real opportunity in the 11th, the Angels could not deliver. Zack Cozart led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch, providing the Halos a much-needed leadoff baserunner in a game that produced few. Michael Trout followed with a fielder's choice, beating out the throw to first. Trout then stole second -- his eighth for the season (8-for-8) -- before Justin Upton moved him over to third with a flyout to right field.
Then, Twins manager Paul Molitor decided to intentionally walk both Jose Pujols and Andrelton Simmons to load the bases for Jefry Marte, who promptly grounded out to the pitcher, after a six-pitch battle, to end the inning. In all, the Angels stranded 16 baserunners.
"We had a lot of opportunities," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Unfortunately we didn't get that hit here or there where we needed it."
The Angels' bullpen, the most overworked in the American League, had, until the 12th, put up five scoreless innings, before Noe Ramirez gave up a leadoff single to Eddie Rosario and then an RBI double to Mitch Garver. Two batters later, Gregorio Petit singled to center to give the Twins their second run of the inning. The bullpen came into Saturday with the fourth-lowest ERA in the AL.
"Good swings by them," Ramirez said. "Unfortunately, I left that changeup up to Garver there. You would like to bury that a little more, just kinda crept over the plate. He put a pretty good swing on it and just out of the reach of [Cozart]. But that's baseball. One pitch can determine a lot."
Upton, who had previously homered in four straight games, drove in two runs, the first on a forceout in the third inning for the Angels' first run and the second on a key single in the seventh off reliever Thomas Pressly to tie the game at 3. Pressly had come into this series against the Angels with a 0.92 ERA, but gave up the leads in both Thursday's 7-4 loss and on Saturday to bring his ERA to 1.69.
Upton then threatened in the ninth with a long single off the wall in center field off reliever Addison Reed, but Byron Buxton was able to relay the ball in to his cutoff man right as the speedy Trout rounded third, preventing him from attempting a play at the plate. Upton finished the night 2-for-5, and has hit .357 (15-for-42) with six homers and 16 RBIs over his last 10 games.
Simmons, with a triple to right field in the sixth inning, has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games and has reached base in 19 straight. Two pitches later, Luis Valbuena, who snapped his 1-for-13 slump with a single in the eighth, knocked in the second Angel run on a sacrifice fly.
Though known as a consummate gloveman, it is Simmons' bat that has illuminated this season. In his last 15 games, he has hit .396 (25-for-63) with 10 extra-base hits and 15 RBIs. His .345 batting average is second in the American League.
Ian Kinsler, Kole Calhoun and Trout each reached base with walks -- Trout with four to extend his Major League-leading on-base percentage to .453. He now leads the American League in walks with 34.
Nick Tropeano, in his first start since returning off the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, was solid, except for a shaky third inning in which his fastball command eluded him, allowing the Twins to notch three runs.
Shohei Ohtani, who is due to start on Sunday, was on the bench for a potential pinch-hit opportunity in extra innings, but Scioscia said after the game that he was not available.
"You know you're going to have 10 of those exhilarating wins during the season, you're going to have 10 of those losses that just rip your heart out," Scioscia said. "This was obviously in the tough loss basket, but just like last night, we're going to turn the page, come out tomorrow and hopefully come away with the win."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Big double play: In a key situation in the ninth inning, with a runner on first and one out, Keynan Middleton struck out Logan Morrison as Rosario attempted a steal of second. He overslid as Simmons secured the ball, forcing Rosario to book it to third while Simmons chased him down to end the threat, and the inning, sending the game into extras.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
With runners on first and second with two outs in the seventh inning, Upton singled to left to bring Calhoun around third and headed toward home. However, Calhoun did not reach home before Trout, advancing from first to third, made an acrobatic slide to evade the tag of Eduardo Escobar.
Had Trout not slid in safely, Calhoun's run would not have counted, and the score would have remained at 3-2.
"It was kind of a crazy play," Trout said. "That's the one thing that was in my mind: I couldn't get tagged out there. I think if [left fielder Eddie Rosario] comes up throwing, obviously the throw beats me by a lot, and I try and stop and get in a rundown. But it worked out."
Ohtani (3-1, 4.10 ERA) will toe the rubber in the series finale against the Twins on Sunday, with first pitch set for 1:07 p.m. PT. Ohtani will be making his sixth start of the season coming off of an outing against the Mariners in which he threw six innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts. Ohtani will face off against fellow rookie Fernando Romero, who is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA.
Avery Yang is a reporter for MLB.com.