Young Halos ambush Astros with historic power display

May 21st, 2024

HOUSTON -- With a lineup that includes several youngsters, the Angels have dealt with their fair share of inconsistencies and struggles early this season.

But their potential was on full display on Monday, as , , and all went deep in an improbable two-inning span to lead the Angels to a stunning 9-7 comeback win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park. The group made history, as it marked the first time that the club received four homers in a game from players 25 years old or younger. It was also the first time in NL/AL history a club had homers from a 25-year-old, a 24-year-old, a 23-year-old and a 22-year-old in the same game.

“It was pretty cool,” O’Hoppe said. “I didn’t realize it until after the fact. None of us have said it out loud, but I feel like all of us internally had been waiting for a moment like that for a little while.”

The barrage of homers helped the Angels, who trailed by five runs but put up seven runs in the fifth against lefty Framber Valdez before Neto added an exclamation point with a leadoff blast off reliever Rafael Montero in the sixth. It was the fourth win in five games for the Angels, who have started to finally heat up offensively, averaging 5.9 runs scored over their last nine contests.

“I wouldn't call it a coming out party, I just call it growing up,” said manager Ron Washington. “We’re starting to figure things out. We really didn't try to do too much, and we ended up doing a lot. So that's what it's about. We’re showing some resiliency and we’re figuring it out. The hard work is paying off.”

It was an improbable comeback, and it all happened so quickly. Schanuel provided the initial spark with a three-run shot off Valdez on a first-pitch changeup. Four batters later, it was O’Hoppe who came through with a three-run blast of his own to give the Angels the lead. His homer came on a first-pitch curveball from Valdez after he was met at the mound by Astros pitching coach Joshua Miller.

“It’s probably a little too late now, but I should’ve figured out teams have been throwing me breaking balls with runners on base,” O’Hoppe said. “So I was up there looking for something spinning. I changed my approach but it worked out.”

On the very next pitch, Adell jumped all over a fastball from a shell-shocked Valdez to give the Angels a two-run lead. It was the first time the Angels scored seven runs in an inning since June 24, 2023, at Colorado.

After long reliever José Suarez threw a 1-2-3 fifth, Neto kept the momentum going with a solo homer off Montero on an 0-2 fastball above the zone. It gave the Angels four homers in a game for the first time since Sept. 9, 2023 against the Guardians. It also matched a franchise record for homers at Minute Maid Park, set on July 5, 2019.

“They’re figuring it out,” Washington said. “We showed a lot of resiliency tonight. When they put up four runs in the second, the spirits in the dugout didn't die. We just kept pushing and kept pushing. I was very impressed.”

It was a promising sign for the Angels, as Schanuel, O’Hoppe, Adell and Neto are all expected to be a big part of the club’s future. Adell is the oldest of the bunch at 25, while O’Hoppe is 24, Neto is 23 and Schanuel is 22.

Adell has been the most consistent of the group and has nine homers on the year, while Neto has six, Schanuel has five and O'Hoppe has four. Adell also robbed Yanier Diaz of a potential homer to open the ninth, showing off his improved defense as well.

“He's growing in front of your face,” Washington said. “That was a big-time play and that play may have saved the game. He’s working hard and it’s nice to see the fruits falling off the tree.”

But the Angels need to get fellow youngster Reid Detmers going, as he allowed six runs on eight hits over four innings and has a 5.80 ERA. Detmers, 24, had a 1.19 ERA through his first four outings but has posted a 9.09 ERA over his last six. Detmers, though, was encouraged by the way his teammates picked him up.

“The young guys came out to play," Detmers said. "They showed who they are and what they can do. It was impressive and the future looks bright."