ANAHEIM -- They looked like the Angels of months past. The ones who scattered hits across the diamond, launched homers over the outfield wall and plated runs in the midst of plentiful wins.
The fall from grace over the past couple of weeks was more than a wakeup call. The franchise lows, like the longest losing streak in franchise history produced, called for new leadership in the clubhouse. Now, in this new chapter for the Angels, they’re finding a way to win again.
On Saturday night at Angel Stadium, the Angels uncovered an offensive goldmine, beating the Mets, 11-6, on the back of a cycle from Jared Walsh, two homers from Mike Trout and a homer among three hits by Shohei Ohtani. It was the Halos’ second win under interim manager Phil Nevin and their second win in their last 17 games.
Thanks to huge early output from superstars Trout and Ohtani, Walsh flew under the radar during the night leading up to the historic at-bat in the eighth. So much so, some of his teammates were unaware of what occurred when Walsh slowed his sprint into third base to complete the ninth cycle in club history.
“We didn't really know that he needed a triple for the cycle,” Trout said, "at least I didn't. … But that's how you get them, like that.”
Walsh, like Ohtani two batters earlier, needed a triple to complete the cycle. The feat was in the back of Walsh’s mind while he was at the plate against reliever Trevor Williams, so when he saw the ball go underneath the glove of diving left fielder Mark Canha, Walsh gave everything he had left in the tank to reach third.
Walsh’s cycle was the club’s first since Ohtani against the Rays on June 13, 2019, and it was the first Walsh has recorded at any level of baseball.
"I thought about it a little bit, but I just wanted to put the barrel on the ball," Walsh said. "I was making pretty good contact tonight, so I felt like if I got something over the plate, I might have a chance to drive it, but nothing specific."
Following the festivities in the clubhouse that involved a fog machine and a disco ball, Walsh was still pondering where the momentous ball would go, though it was most likely going to his mom.
Angels hitting coach Jeremy Reed had predicted Walsh was due for a breakout at the plate. The two worked closely together during the Angels’ losing streak, and the results have been promising for the first baseman.
"I have been feeling a little bit better," said Walsh, who has been focusing on his timing against pitchers. "I've been doing some early work out on the field, and I felt like my swing was kind of coming together a little bit, so just trying to be patient with myself."
For Nevin, the results of the Angels’ second win since May 25 will lead to other games just like Saturday.
"Some of this stuff will be contagious," Nevin said. "When it's going bad, it kind of falls in line, and then when it's going good, [it's the same thing.] It's just been the way baseball works. It's crazy.”
Trout, in his first game back after sitting three days with a tight left groin, finished with three hits and three RBIs, while Ohtani also drove in three runs of his own. Andrew Velazquez clubbed his fourth homer of the season in the sixth to add to the Angels’ growing lead, as the Angels tallied 11 extra-base hits on the evening.
Benefiting from all this offense was right-handed starter Michael Lorenzen, who allowed only one run in 6 1/3 innings with four strikeouts to earn his sixth victory of the season. The Orange County native, donning the Angels City Connect uniforms that pay homage to the region’s beach culture, walked off the mound to a standing ovation.
“We don't need games like tonight to believe that we're a good team,” Lorenzen said. “We know we're a good team. We know we're going to play good baseball. We play good defense, we pitch really well and we hit well. We have the right guys in the clubhouse and we believe highly that we're going to be successful this year."