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OC Register: Tyler Skaggs helps Angels to victory in final game of Albert Pujols’ return to St. Louis


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  • Angels-Cardinals-Baseball-14.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs throws a pitch during first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday, June 23, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Luis Rengifo, right, is tagged out at home by St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, left, during the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 23, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

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  • Angels-Cardinals-Baseball2.jpg

    St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas throws a pitch during first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Sunday, June 23, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

  • Angels-Cardinals-Baseball-511.jpg

    St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong, right, turns a double play over Los Angeles Angels’ Justin Upton, left, during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 23, 2019, in St. Louis. Kole Calhoun was out at first. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

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    St. Louis Cardinals’ Marcell Ozuna, right, argues a strike out call by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez, left, during the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 23, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

  • Angels-Cardinals-Baseball-32.jpg

    St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong, right, turns a double play over Los Angeles Angels’ Justin Upton, left, during third inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 23, 2019, in St. Louis. Kole Calhoun was out at first. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

  • Angels-Cardinals-Baseball-22.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols tips his cap during a standing ovation before his first at bat during first inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday, June 23, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

  • Angels-Cardinals-Baseball-711.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels’ Justin Bour, left, slides head first into second as St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong, right, misses the throw during the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 23, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

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ST. LOUIS — Tyler Skaggs probably wished he had been in an American League park on Sunday night.

Skaggs was pulled after five scoreless innings in the Angels’ 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals because his spot in the order was due when the Angels were trying to pad a one-run lead in the sixth.

Still, Skaggs’ second straight strong outing and a 15-hit attack from the offense were enough for the Angels to salvage one victory in a weekend that had mostly been marked by celebrations of Albert Pujols.

Returning to the city where he was a star for the first 11 years of his career, Pujols had two more hits and received standing ovations before each of his five plate appearances. He also got a curtain call after his final at-bat in the ninth, a popout. The Cardinals then showed a pre-recorded video in which he thanked them.

As far as the Angels were concerned, though, the most important development was that Skaggs picked up where he left off after allowing one run in 7-1/3 innings on Tuesday in Toronto.

Skaggs needed 70 pitches to get through five innings, allowing just four singles and no walks. He hasn’t walked a batter in his last 14-1/3 innings.

Skaggs struck out only three on Sunday night, but he repeatedly induced soft contact and easy outs.

He had been clinging to a 1-0 lead since his own two-out walk in the second got Tommy La Stella to the plate, and La Stella drove in a run with a single.

The Angels had a chance to pad the lead in the sixth, after back-to-back walks to David Fletcher and Luís Rengifo to start the inning. With one out and the runners still at first and second, Shohei Ohtani pinch-hit for Skaggs.

Ohtani lined a single into right, loading the bases. La Stella then singled up the middle, driving in one. Rengifo also would have scored, but he stumbled and fell just after coming around third, and he was tagged out at the plate. Mike Trout was then called out on strikes, ending the potential rally with just one run.

The Angels held that 2-0 lead for three innings, with Justin Anderson, Cam Bedrosian and Ty Buttrey each working a scoreless inning. After the Angels had padded the lead to 6-0 with four in the top of the ninth, Jake Jewell started the bottom of the ninth could only record two outs. Closer Hansel Robles entered and eventually stopped the rally two runs short.

More to come on this story.

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