ANAHIEM -- Ricky Nolasco served up seven innings of one-run ball and allowed just two hits in the Angels' 2-1 loss to the Rays on Friday night at Angel Stadium.The 34-year-old fanned six batters and walked two. Despite the Angels' offensive struggles -- highlighted by going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring
ANAHIEM -- Ricky Nolasco served up seven innings of one-run ball and allowed just two hits in the Angels' 2-1 loss to the Rays on Friday night at Angel Stadium.
The 34-year-old fanned six batters and walked two. Despite the Angels' offensive struggles -- highlighted by going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position -- Nolasco kept his team in the game.
"Ricky pitched great," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "Made one mistake to [Evan] Longoria, when the ball floated back to the middle and he hit it out. Outside that, he pitched a terrific."
Scioscia has said before that he believes Nolasco is capable of performing at a very high level. On several occasions, the Angels skipper has noted Nolasco's effort at the end of the 2016 campaign, a stretch during which the veteran won three straight decisions while posting a 0.00 ERA across 21 innings. That same potential was unearthed in recent starts against the Dodgers and Mariners, and it was again Friday, even after Nolasco was shelled in Texas a week ago and chased from the game after 1 2/3 innings.
Nolasco continues to prove the rough patches serve as teaching moments, even at this stage in his career. When Longoria ambushed a 1-0 fastball and launched a solo home run in the first inning Friday, Nolasco said he buckled down and made sure his command increased.
"Really the one mistake I made there was the one to Longoria," he said. "Jumped me there in the first inning. Just, kind of, command of the fastball was better after that, and I made some pitches."
The performance marked Nolasco's team-best ninth quality start of the year. The two hits were the fewest he's relinquished in an outing this season, as well. However, the performance came in yet another game in which the Halos couldn't provide the veteran enough run support. Entering Friday, Nolasco had garnered an MLB-low 2.9 runs of support per game. He was aided by just one run en route to picking up a no-decision Friday.
But, Nolasco has said before that he's only concerned with what he can control, and his command was masterful in his latest outing.
"Gave a little room on the breaking stuff," he said. "Splitter was good, slider was good, curveball was good when I needed it."
Moving forward, the Angels will hope their offense can be good when Nolasco needs it to be, too.
"That's been plaguing us most of the year," Scioscia said of his unit's offensive production. "We have to start to control our batter's box better."
Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.