ANAHEIM -- There’s a first time for everything. For the Angels’ Kenny Rosenberg, Sunday presented him with two.
In his third Major League start and second with the Angels this season, Rosenberg picked up his first big league win -- and his first postgame beer shower -- after a 2-1 victory over the Guardians at Angel Stadium.
“There were a little extracurriculars, not just beer,” the 28-year-old said after a brisk postgame cleanup. “A couple eggs, some ice water, all good stuff. It was a fun celebration. I had just as much adrenaline in there as I did out there [on the field].”
The left-hander threw five innings against the Guardians, allowing six hits and just one run, with one walk and four strikeouts.
Crucial to his outing was a fifth-inning strikeout of David Fry, which quashed an attempted rally and capped Rosenberg’s outing with a punctuation mark, as he let out a shout of excitement upon getting the whiff on an elevated changeup.
“Any time you get a strikeout to end the inning with runners in scoring position,” said Rosenberg, “when you know you’re kind of close to the end of your rope, 3-2 count, not even really a great pitch. … Nonetheless, when you get that positive result, there’s a lot of emotions and it just kind of climaxes there. I don't even know what I said.”
The Angels claimed three of four against the Guardians despite a lineup absent Mike Trout, on the injured list with a left hamate fracture; Shohei Ohtani, who remains day to day with right oblique inflammation and did not appear in a game this homestand after being scratched on Monday against Baltimore; Anthony Rendon; and Luis Rengifo, whose strong season ended abruptly on Thursday with a ruptured biceps tendon.
And though Joyce didn’t notch any strikeouts with his high-octane arsenal of pitches, he did keep the Guardians off the board with a scoreless seventh, ending the frame by retiring José Ramírez -- Cleveland’s perennial AL MVP candidate -- on a popout with a 98.3 mph sinker up in the zone.
“I thought he threw the ball well,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said of Joyce. “He came in fresh, and he feels good. That’s the important part.”
Jimmy Herget, who’s had an up-and-down season in relief, showed some emotion himself when he struck out Andrés Giménez looking on a curveball to end the eighth.
“I said all these guys are going to get chances in big spots, and today was his turn,” said Nevin. “I like the emotion, regardless of where we’re at. Guys want to win, they’re competitive, and have been all year.”
With the victory, the Angels won the season series with the Guardians, four games to three -- marking the first time they’ve done that in consecutive seasons against Cleveland since 2011-12.
Carlos Estévez finished it out with a clean ninth for his 30th save of the season, one that has seen the right-hander make his first All-Star Game and record 30 saves for the first time in his career.
“He’s done a heck of a job for us this year,” said Nevin of Estévez. “... If you look at his numbers compared to every good closer in this league, he's right there with them -- and even better than most. He's done a great job, he’s been a leader in that bullpen.”
Estévez credited some of his success in his career to advice from Pedro Martinez, who has imparted wisdom to him for a few years now.
“He’s like that with every young Dominican, he lets you know, ‘Hey, I’m here, whatever you need, I’m right here,’ which is great,” said Estévez. “… He always has advice to give you, when things are going good or when things are going bad, and that’s the best part of having a Hall of Famer like that telling you stuff.”
Although the Angels are not where they thought they’d be at this point in the season and are playing with a heavily depleted lineup in these final few weeks, Nevin liked what he saw from his club this series, given the circumstances.
“I mentioned it earlier in this homestand,” said Nevin. “We’ve taken a lot of gut punches, even right up until a couple days ago with Luis [Rengifo]. We are where we are, but they’re playing hard. They’re playing to win.”