Ohtani triples in 9th inning to end no-hit bid

Angels' offensive struggles continue as they are swept in Freeway Series

June 16th, 2022

LOS ANGELES -- Just when it looked like things couldn't get much worse for the reeling Angels, they were nearly no-hit by Dodgers left-hander Tyler Anderson on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.

The Angels were just two outs away from being no-hit for the eighth time in franchise history and the first time since 1999, when Shohei Ohtani ripped a triple down the right-field line to break up the no-hit bid. It still came in a 4-1 loss, which was yet another tough defeat for the Angels, who have dropped 18 of 20. They also were held scoreless for a streak of 25 consecutive innings until Matt Duffy brought home Ohtani with a single off closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth.

"We've talked about things getting contagious,” said interim manager Phil Nevin. “I thought we took some good at-bats early and then it kind of snowballs on you and he got into a little bit of a groove and really kept us off balance. We really didn't hit many balls hard, and when we did they were right at somebody."

The offense has been a major issue for the Angels during their rough stretch, which now has them a season-worst six games under .500 at 29-35. They have scored just 63 runs over their last 20 games, which is the third-fewest by any team in the Majors dating back to May 25, ahead of just the A’s (55) and Tigers (54).

Nevin said he’s been staying positive with his players in an effort to get them going at the plate, but hasn’t held a team meeting regarding their struggles since he took over for Joe Maddon on June 7.

"I kind of have those discussions in the dugout,” Nevin said. “You encourage them. This game is hard. I'll never forget how hard this game was to play. But there's things like approaches and taking a gameplan to the plate. I think for the most part we did, he just made his pitches."

The Angels had four runners reach base, with two reaching via errors and two with walks, but couldn't muster a hit until Ohtani came through in the ninth. After Mike Trout struck out looking, Ohtani jumped on a first-pitch cutter from Anderson and pulled it down the right-field line for his first triple of the season.

It at least saved the Angels from the ignominy of being no-hit, which Nevin said he could relate to, as he was made the final out in two different no-hitters during his 12-year playing career.

"That was a tough matchup for him and a tough spot for him to hit in the ninth, because you don't want to get no-hit,” Nevin said. “He hit a pretty good pitch. It was the same pitch [Anderson] got him out with early. He pulled that one in the corner and I'm more worried about the triple late at night and he's got to pitch tomorrow with a long flight tonight. But he's fine, as we know."

The Angels appeared to open the game with a hit, however, as Taylor Ward hit a shallow fly ball to center field that saw right fielder Mookie Betts and center fielder Cody Bellinger collide. The ball came out of Betts' glove, but Bellinger threw to second to get Ward out. It was originally ruled a single, but was changed by the official scorer to an error on Bellinger after the inning. Ward, though, said he had no issues with the ruling and blamed himself for not running harder into second base, as he thought the ball was caught.

"There's no excuses, I need to get out of the box and get to second base,” Ward said. “I think the catch should've been made, but they just ran into each other."

The Angels had another close call with two outs in the seventh, when Jared Walsh hit a slow roller down the first-base line. Anderson picked it up, but his throw bounced down the first-base line for what was ruled a two-base error. Walsh, though, was stranded there with Juan Lagares flying out to left on Anderson's 99th pitch of the game to end the seventh.

Ward said the Angels had trouble timing up Anderson’s pitches because of his unorthodox delivery and he was able to locate his changeup where he wanted.

"The funky timing mechanism he has -- him varying that -- helped his game," Ward said. "And he had a great changeup. We tried to have a plan going up there but he was able to get me personally off that."