On the day after Jackie Robinson Day, the Angels and Twins wore 42. As teams around Baseball honored his legacy, these two in particular gave their fans a hell of a game. One with aggressive base running, great defense, and balls in play a plenty. Also bad fielding, hair pulling decisions, and dropped balls. That the Angels won was a relief to be sure.
Good Heaney, bad Slegers
Andrew Heaney took the mound and the question on everyone’s mind was “Will it be good Heaney or bad Heaney?”. Today, it was good Heaney. He went 5 and 1/3 innings and gave up 2 runs on 2 hits (Both after he left). 6 strikeouts against 3 walks. Part of the reason for his success was inducing 3 double plays, using the defense to get through the innings quickly.
It was a quick quiet game to start on both sides. Took until the bottom of the 4th for either pitcher to even sweat a little. That’s when the Angels got 2 on thanks to a Trout walk and Upton double, all with 2 outs. The pitching coach came out to calm the Twins starter down, but it didn’t work as Walsh drove both of them in with a single up the middle. What was so surprising was that this was against a lefty starter.
The good times turned sour in the 6th as Heaney struggled and was pulled only for Aaron Slegers to give up 3 runs, 2 being charged to Heaney. A double play limited the damage to just 3, but it was a devastating stain to the good Heaney start. Still, plenty of innings left for the offense to win the game.
Rod Carew offense
And the offense did respond, gaining two in the 6th. This was due to bloops, aggressive running, and luck. A Fletcher bloop single, a broken bat Ohtani double, and a seeing eye Trout single gave the Angels the lead again. Rod Carew nods in approval.
It wasn’t an easy time the rest of the way, however. Justin Upton dropped a ball going from his glove to his hand to make a double turned single a double again. That runner scored thanks to Aaron. Also Trout and Iglesias failed to catch a ball hit between them. Still, no runs scored on that as Mike Mayers picked up his fielders.
The aggressiveness did not stop as the bottom of the 7th brought in more runs. Infield hit for Churches, a single by Rengifo that got just by everyone into right. Then, Fletcher fake bunted and hit one by right over the head of the first baseman. An IBB to a Trout and it was bases loaded for Justin Upton.
A grand slam for Hot Pocket and it was fitting. Jared Walsh wanted in and went back to back with him.
Wrap it up
Cisheck came in to pitch the 8th, the hard part out of the way with a 7 run lead. He made it look easy and looks to have found his role. The Twins responded with a catcher for a pitcher and pitched better and worse than the fans, not topping 60 mph. Alex Claudio finished the game, and securing the win. Not that he made it easy, as he loaded the bases with 2 outs, as is tradition.
The Angels are now 8-5 on the year and tied with the Mariners atop the AL West for now. Q is in the mound tomorrow vs the Twins at 6 pm. Shoemaker will be going for Minnesota.