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OC Register: A night after honoring Tyler Skaggs with a no-hitter, Angels still in awe of performance

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ANAHEIM — A night of sleep, or without sleep, in some cases, did little to help the Angels to comprehend what they had experienced a night earlier.

“It’s beyond what you can write up or ever think about,” Taylor Cole said Saturday. “It’s the single greatest moment I’ve ever had on a baseball field, and I’ve been playing since I was a little kid. It goes beyond just winning a baseball game. It goes beyond all that.”

Cole and all the rest of the Angels were wearing new red T-shirts bearing Skaggs’ oft-used phrase: “We’re nasty.” The shirts showed up on Saturday, which was Skaggs birthday.

A day earlier, Cole had pitched two perfect innings and then Félix Peña followed with seven hitless innings, the only blemish being a walk, in Angels’ remarkable no-hitter on Friday night.

They did it wearing jerseys that all bore the name “Skaggs” and the No. 45, honoring their fallen friend and teammate.

On Saturday, as they were asked to dissect, with the perspective of another night, what had happened, most of them still seemed to be in awe of the accomplishment.

Each remembered little bits of the night, obvious and subtle, that told them something special was happening.

For Cole, his was a 3-and-0 pitch to Domingo Santana in the first inning. He chucked a fastball over the middle, and Santana smoked it, 101.5 mph, but it one-hopped right to shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

“I’ve had some balls go the other way as well earlier this year,” Cole said, “but yesterday was our day. It was Skaggs’ day. It’s really really special.”

The defensive play of the game came from Matt Thaiss, who didn’t even realize that he was protecting a no-hitter at the time. Thaiss dove to his left and snagged a smash from Mac Williamson, then he scrambled to his feet and made a throw just in time to get to the out.

Thaiss has been a third baseman for about two months. In his first couple games at the position, he said he was still “dropping and blocking ground balls,” like a catcher, which is the position he’d played in college.

Yet, in his fourth major league game, at a relatively new position, he had the biggest play to make the unforgettable night possible.

“I think it was meant to be last night,” Thaiss shrugged a day later.

Despite Thaiss’ great play, he was still pulled for defense in the ninth inning, with David Fletcher going to third and Luís Rengifo entering at second. Manager Brad Ausmus said on Saturday that he actually worried that getting pulled for defense in a 13-0 game might not be great for Thaiss’ confidence.

“Going into the ninth, we were three outs away and there were a bunch of fans and a bunch of players that want to see this happen,” Ausmus said. “I just wanted to remove as much chance as possible. My biggest concern was Matt Thaiss thinking he can’t play in a 13-run game. So I talked to him in the dugout before I made the move and told him it was an experience thing because he hadn’t had a lot of experience at third base.”

Rengifo ended up making the final play, as a hard ground ball hit him in the chest. He calmly picked the ball up off the ground and threw it to first in time to get speedy Mallex Smith and secure the no-hitter. That ball would wind up sitting at the top of Skaggs’ locker, which has remained as he left it.

After that, and after the players had all placed their No. 45 jerseys on the mound, the calls and texts and tweets started streaming in from around the major leagues. Players from other teams, some with no connection to the Angels, all expressed their joy at watching the way the Angels performed on such an emotional night.

Ausmus, who said he got texts from several other managers, said it was the “most special” game he’d ever experienced.

“It’s kind of tough to put into words,” Ausmus said. “The number of texts and emails that I’ve gotten as a result of the game has been unbelievable to me. We’re on west coast time zone so I think a lot of people were asleep. I’m not sure if they saw it this morning or stayed up late last night. It touched a lot of people outside Anaheim as well.”

It was the kind of game that sent Dustin Garneau home unable to sleep, as he tossed and turned all night, replaying the events in his mind.

“The jerseys on the mound, I’ll never forget that,” Garneau said. “To be around the mound and everyone join in the moment I won’t forget. It still hasn’t hit me. We understand we had a no-hitter and everything, but how it went down and the day it went down, it still is like a scene from a movie.”


Brian Goodwin, who is out with a right wrist contusion, is scheduled to hit on the field on Sunday. He could be activated soon after that…

JC Ramírez is scheduled for at least one more rehab outing, Manager Brad Ausmus said. Ramírez, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, has pitched in eight minor league games so far, including allowing seven runs on Thursday night…

Keynan Middleton will move his rehab assignment to Triple-A Salt Lake. Middleton, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, has pitched three games so far. Middleton could be ready to return within a week or two…

Shohei Ohtani threw another bullpen session on Saturday. Ohtani said he’s still throwing only fastballs, and everything is going smoothly…

The Angels designated Jarrett Parker for assignment to create a spot for Matt Harvey on the roster. Harvey started on Saturday night.


Angels (LHP José Suarez, 2-1, 5.40) vs. Mariners (LHP Yusei Kikuchi, 4-6, 4.94), 1:07 p.m., Fox Sports West

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