PHOENIX -- Multiple injuries have created opportunities for some of the Angels' reservoir of talent to make impressions this season, and both Felix Pena and David Fletcher took their turn again Tuesday night.Pena struck out a career-high 12 and pitched out of a bases-loaded situation in the fourth inning to
PHOENIX -- Multiple injuries have created opportunities for some of the Angels' reservoir of talent to make impressions this season, and both Felix Pena and David Fletcher took their turn again Tuesday night.
Pena struck out a career-high 12 and pitched out of a bases-loaded situation in the fourth inning to keep his team close, but the Angels lost to the D-backs, 5-4, on Cam Bedrosian's errant throw to third base with runners on first and second in the ninth inning. Pena was not perfect, giving up seven hits and four runs in six innings, but he did not get the loss.
This followed Pena's best outing of the season, a 3-2 victory at San Diego last Wednesday, in which he gave up six hits and one unearned run with seven strikeouts.
Fletcher had three hits, and his two-out triple in a two-run seventh inning tied the game at 4. Fletcher, who has seen time since Zack Cozart went on the disabled list, has 13 hits in his last 30 at-bats.
Pena is one of 12 starters the Angels have used this season. Andrew Heaney has thrown the most innings (140), but he will not get to 200. The team has used a franchise-record 34 pitchers this season and has lost every member of its projected rotation to injury, some longer than others.
"I don't like the fact that I am here because other people got hurt," Pena said through a translator. "That is not a good thing for the team. But I will take the opportunity and continue working hard and improve and make sure to give the team what they need."
Pena gave up a two-run, opposite-field homer to a very hot David Peralta in the first inning and gave up two more runs on four singles, a walk and a hit batter in the third inning, although several of those hits were not particularly well struck.
He got out of the third inning with a strikeout, and he fanned eight of last 11 he faced before leaving for pinch-hitter Jefry Marte, whose two-out homer in the seventh sparked the tying rally.
Pena got seven strikeouts with his slider and five with a fastball that touched 95 mph. He struck out the side in the first and fourth innings and had two strikeouts apiece in the third, fifth and sixth innings.
"You look on the board, four runs, but he threw the ball much better than that," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Those guys had some hits fall in. The [homer] Peralta hit just kept carrying. I thought it was going to be a fly ball to left. He definitely was making pitches to put hitters away. He's throwing the ball much more consistently right now.
"He's using all his pitches. He's hitting both sides of the plate. He got it going after the third inning, gave us three strong innings."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Doomed by bunts: Two balls that went maybe 100 feet combined doomed the Angels in the ninth. John Ryan Murphy beat out a bunt down the first-base line after Bedrosian hit Jonathan Jay to open the inning, and Bedrosian threw wildly to third on A.J. Pollock's bunt toward the mound to permit Jay to score.
"The first one looked like it had a chance to roll foul, but the line kept it fair," Scioscia said. "By the time Cam got to it, he had to make a quick throw and Murphy beat it out. The second one, the play was there. We were where we needed to be. If Cam makes just his nice normal throw, he is out by two steps at third base. He just lost his release point on that play."
"Just rushed it," Bedrosian said. "I heard 'third, third, third,' and turned around and spun and did not get my body set.
"Very frustrating, especially how much these guys battled tonight," Bedrosian added.
Stop sign: Left fielder Kaleb Cowart momentarily thwarted an Arizona rally in the third inning on consecutive plays, when he threw out Eduardo Escobar attempting to go from first to third on Peralta's single to left field and then got to Paul Goldschmidt's ensuing single so quickly that Peralta could not score from second base.
It was Cowart's first outfield assist in his third start in left field. Regular left fielder Justin Upton (lacrerated finger) was placed on the disabled list before the game.
Marte's second career pinch-hit homer had an exit velocity of 107.9 mph and a launch angle of 25 degrees, per Statcast™. It landed in the second deck of the left-field seats, traveling a projected 446 feet. His other pinch-hit homer came at Yankee Stadium on June 19, 2016.
Odrisamer Despaigne (2-1, 6.29 ERA) became the franchise-record 34th pitcher used this season when he made his first start for the club at Texas last Friday. He'll face the D-backs on Wednesday with first pitch scheduled for 6:40 p.m. PT. Despaigne has more career starts (seven) and total innings (43) vs. the D-backs than against any other team. Arizona will counter with Clay Buchholz (6-2, 2.47 ERA)
Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com based in Phoenix.