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OC Register: Angels hitters fail to support Patrick Sandoval in his best outing


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    Angels left fielder Justin Upton can’t reach a ball hit for a two-run double by the Rangers’ Isiah Kiner-Falefa during the eighth inning of Wednesday’s game at Angel Stadium. The Angels lost 3-0. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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    Angels starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval throws to the plate during the third inning of Wednesday’s game against the Rangers at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

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    Angels starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval throws to the plate during the first inning of Wednesday’s game against the Rangers at Angel Stadium. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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    Angels starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval sits in the dugout after the second inning of Wednesday’s game against the Rangers at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

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    Angels starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval throws to the plate during the third inning of Wednesday’s game against the Rangers at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

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ANAHEIM — Patrick Sandoval and Keynan Middleton, potentially two important pieces of the 2020 pitching staff, had milestone outings on Wednesday night.

Sandoval had the best performance of his five-game big league career, tossing five scoreless innings, and Middleton pitched in the majors for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Although Middleton wasn’t charged with a run, he allowed an inherited runner to score, putting the Rangers on top in the Angels’ 3-0 loss.

With Mike Trout out while resting a sore foot, the Angels mustered just three hits. The closest they came to a run was when Brian Goodwin was robbed of a solo homer by center fielder Delino DeShields in the third inning.

In the first, the Angels loaded the bases with one out, but Kole Calhoun grounded into a double play. Andrelton Simmons hit into a double play with two on and one out in the seventh.

The lack of offense spoiled the encouraging performance by Sandoval.

Sandoval, the Angels’ 22-year-old rookie, gave up one hit and struck out nine before Manager Brad Ausmus pulled him at 84 pitches.

Ausmus has been fairly strict this season about pulling his starters before they go too far into the third time though the lineup. He called it being “proactive,” to pull pitchers before it’s too late.

In this case, he pulled Sandoval after what was easily the best game of his first month in the big leagues. Sandoval had faced one batter the third time through the order when Ausmus pulled him.

In the second inning, Sandoval gave up a leadoff double to Willie Calhoun and then he walked Nick Solak. Sandoval then struck out Logan Forsythe on a 95.7 mph fastball, his third hardest pitch of the season. He got Isiah Kiner-Falefa on a flyout, and then struck out DeShields to escape the jam.

Over the next three innings, he just issued two walks, but escaped without damage.

It was only the second time that Sandoval finished five innings, and it was the first time that he allowed less than two runs.

After Sandoval came out, Miguel Del Pozo entered and faced three batters, allowing a walk and a single. Ausmus then summoned Middleton, who was pitching in the big leagues for the first time in more than 15 months.

Middleton, who admitted when he was activated on Tuesday that he’d had trouble controlling his emotions upon his return, immediately gave up a single to Nick Solak, pushing home the game’s first run.

After that, he retired the next two hitters on fly balls. Middleton threw 14 pitches, with an average velocity of 94.2 mph on his 11 fastballs. Before he got hurt, he averaged 96.0 mph on his fastball. It is normal for pitchers to be a little short of their pre-surgery velocity immediately upon their return.

The Rangers padded their lead in the eighth, when Cam Bedrosian allowed two runs on three straight hits.

More to come on this story.

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