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OC Register: Tommy La Stella’s inside-the-park home run sparks Angels past Reds


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  • GettyImages-1151909373.jpg

    ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 25: Tommy La Stella #9 of the Los Angeles Angels is greeted in the dugout after hitting an inside the park home run against the Cincinnati Reds the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

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    ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 25: Nick Senzel #15 of the Cincinnati Reds leaps for a ball hit by Tommy La Stella #9 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim that went off the top of the wall and turned into an inside the park home run for LaStella in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

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  • GettyImages-1151909339.jpg

    ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 25: Nick Senzel #15 of the Cincinnati Reds leaps for a ball hit by Tommy La Stella #9 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim that went off the top of the wall and turned into an inside the park home run for LaStella in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

  • GettyImages-1151909340.jpg

    ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 25: Nick Senzel #15 of the Cincinnati Reds leaps for a ball hit by Tommy La Stella #9 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim that went off the top of the wall and turned into an inside the park home run for LaStella in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

  • GettyImages-1151909371.jpg

    ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 25: Tommy La Stella #9 of the Los Angeles Angels heads to third base as he scored an inside the park home run against the Cincinnati Reds the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

  • GettyImages-1151909377.jpg

    ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 25: Tommy La Stella #9 of the Los Angeles Angels scored an inside the park home run against the Cincinnati Reds the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

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    The Angels’ Tommy La Stella scores past Reds catcher Curt Casali on an inside-the-park home run during the first inning of Tuesday’s game at Angel Stadium. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Tommy La Stella, right, celebrates after an inside-the-park home run as Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle walks past during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • GettyImages-1151909372.jpg

    ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 25: Tommy La Stella #9 is congratulated by Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels after he scored an inside the park home run against the Cincinnati Reds the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

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    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney throws to a Cincinnati Reds batter during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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    ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 25: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a solo home run the first inning against the Los Angeles Angelsat Angel S tadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

  • Reds-Angels-Baseball.jpg

    Cincinnati Reds’ Joey Votto celebrates in the dugout after his home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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    ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 25: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds is tagged out in a run down play by David Fletcher #6 of the Los Angeles in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

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    ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 25: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels can’t come up with a single by Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds in the second inning of the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

  • GettyImages-1151909444.jpg

    ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 25: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels can’t come up with a single by Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds in the second inning of the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

  • Reds-Angels-Baseball-4.jpg

    Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Tyler Mahle throws to a Los Angeles Angels batter during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Reds-Angels-Baseball-5.jpg

    Cincinnati Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez throws out Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani at first during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Luis Rengifo, right, watches his three-run home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Luis Rengifo, right, celebrates his three-run home run with Albert Pujols during the second inning of the team’s baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Reds-Angels-Baseball-8.jpg

    Cincinnati Reds’ Yasiel Puig reacts in the dugout after hitting into a double play during the third inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Reds-Angels-Baseball-21.jpg

    Home plate umpire Kerwin Danley ejects Cincinnati Reds’ Yasiel Puig from the Reds’ baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels during the sixth inning in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Reds-Angels-Baseball-1-2.jpg

    Cincinnati Reds’ Yasiel Puig, right, has words with home plate umpire Kerwin Danley after being thrown out of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels during the sixth inning in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • APTOPIX-Reds-Angels-Baseball.jpg

    Cincinnati Reds’ Yasiel Puig, right, is held back by manager David Bell after the pair were ejected by home plate umpire Kerwin Danley, left, during the sixth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Reds-Angels-Baseball-2-2.jpg

    Los Angeles Angels’ Wilfredo Tovar scores past Cincinnati Reds catcher Curt Casali on a sacrifice fly by Shohei Ohtani during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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ANAHEIM — With the final stages of All-Star voting set to start Wednesday, Angels manager Brad Ausmus was asked why second baseman Tommy La Stella’s breakout season should include a starting nod in the All-Star Game.

“I think his performance has spoken for itself,” the first-year Angels manager said.

La Stella gave a perfectly timed final campaign speech Tuesday in the Angels’ 5-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Angel Stadium, going 2 for 4 and leading off the bottom of the first inning with a game-tying inside-the-park home run.

The Angels (40-40) hadn’t had an inside-the-park home run since Peter Bourjos at Minnesota on April 11, 2012, and La Stella’s was the first at home for an Angels player since Chone Figgins on Sept. 29, 2006.

Andrew Heaney, the team’s top pitcher a year ago who lasted just 3-2/3 innings in his last start, bounced back with 5-1/3 innings, giving up five hits, one run and four walks with four strikeouts. The lefty who missed the first 51 games of the year with left elbow inflammation gave up a first-inning solo homer to Joey Votto, but didn’t allow a runner past second base for the rest of the night.

The Angels quickly overcame the early deficit with La Stella’s 16th homer of the year. Reds center fielder Nick Senzel misplayed the long fly ball at the wall, jumping and missing the catch as the ball bounced off Senzel’s glove. La Stella, who has six more homers this year than he did in his entire major league career entering the season (10), never slowed down on the base paths until sliding across home.

After failing to break into the starting rotation in four years with the Cubs, but hitting a consistent .273 with a .356 on-base percentage mostly as a pinch hitter, the 30-year-old La Stella has a career-high 44 RBIs this season and became the 11th Angels infielder with 15 or more home runs prior to the All-Star break. On Friday, he was named an American League All-Star finalist at second base and had the most votes for players at his position.

A three-run homer from shortstop Luis Rengifo in the second pushed the Angels ahead and an unorthodox sacrifice fly from designated hitter Shohei Ohtani in the seventh gave them their final run. Ohtani lifted a ball to left field with one out with pinch runner Wilfredo Tovar on second. The Reds’ Jose Peraza causally caught the fly ball, appearing as if he thought it was the third out of the inning. He didn’t see Tovar sprinting around third to score easily on the mistake.

Noe Ramirez, Ty Buttrey and Hansel Robles allowed just two hits combined in 3-2/3 innings of scoreless relief to help lift the Angels back to .500 on the season. Since their 9-16 start, the Angels are 31-24 with five straight home games coming up, beginning Wednesday at 5 p.m. against the Reds.

More to come on this story.

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Can you imagine being a bright, young, energetic, good baseball pbp announcer, toiling away in the minors year after year, waiting for your chance.... and then tune in to see and hear Terry Smith doing a major league broadcast... in a major media market.

It would be enough to make him or her jump off a bridge.

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