Angels walk off on wild pitch ... again!

Ohtani delivers MLB-leading 26th homer of season

June 27th, 2023

ANAHEIM -- As the Angels settle in for the long haul, opening an extended run of local games that could go a long way toward defining their season, they are not shying away from drama.

On a night when Mike Trout was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, he still ended up scoring the game-winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 2-1 walk-off victory over the White Sox.

Shohei Ohtani showed he was excited for a stretch of 21 consecutive games in Southern California over a span of 28 days when he crushed a towering home run in the fourth inning. Reid Detmers delivered an outing that was soaring in its own right, allowing one run on two hits and two walks over seven innings, with 10 strikeouts.

What the Angels’ house-warming party showed Monday is that a little beach weather over the next month could provide the inspiration they need. The club plays 16 home games over the next four weeks, with road series against the Dodgers and Padres. Throw in the All-Star break, and it’s time to fill the cupboards with snacks.

“It’s a good time to regroup and be with the family,” said Trout, who had his young son at his locker postgame.

The Angels’ game-winning rally started when both Trout and Ohtani walked to open the bottom of the ninth. It got spicy when Trout and Ohtani pulled off a double steal.

It was complete when Trout went headfirst into home plate on a wild pitch from Aaron Bummer.

The Angels are the first team in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) to have each of their first two walk-off wins of the season come via a wild pitch or passed ball, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

It is exactly the kind of home cooking the club is looking for.

“We’re playing a lot of good teams over the next month, but the fact is that we’re home, we’re not traveling,” manager Phil Nevin said. “We can get some extra work in and be comfortable here. And hopefully it turns out that we win a lot of baseball games.”

Mike Moustakas made his Angels debut Monday and had a hit in three at-bats. Moustakas was acquired in a trade from the Rockies on Sunday, and he was standing at home plate when Trout scored the game-winning run.

“You’re sitting there thinking, ‘Wow, this is a pretty cool moment for Moose,’” Nevin said, about Moustakas being in position to be the hero in his Angels debut. “He even said in there [that] Mike stole his thunder. Any way you can get a win is great.”

The White Sox got the upper hand early when red-hot Luis Robert Jr. showed just why he was named the American League Player of the Week with a first-inning home run. It was Robert’s third home run in a span of four at-bats going back to Sunday.

But Detmers showed his own hot form when he followed the opening frame with six scoreless innings and delivered his second double-digit-strikeout performance of the season. He retired 10 consecutive batters following the home run, and he gave up just two hits and two walks in his seven innings.

The Angels got even in the fourth inning when Ohtani crushed a home run to right-center field, his MLB-leading 26th of the season.

White Sox starter Dylan Cease was essentially as effective as Detmers, giving up one run on five hits over six-plus innings, with no walks and 10 strikeouts.

The pitchers' duel that was expected came to fruition, with Detmers now sporting a 1.05 ERA and 34 strikeouts over his past four starts, after a 5.15 ERA in his first 10 starts of the season.

He has been taking inspiration on pitching performances from both Ohtani and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw of late. With Ohtani, it has been on how to use a slider effectively, and with Kershaw, it has been all about the likely future Hall of Famer’s pinpoint control.

“I’m just commanding the zone, and that has been huge,” Detmers said of his past four starts. “Throwing everything in the zone and then expanding when I need to.”

Three of those four most recent starts have been at home, with more of the same on the way.

“We have a good squad, obviously,” Detmers said. “It doesn’t always show, but that’s baseball. We just have to keep our heads down and keep going. There’s not a whole lot to it.”