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OC Register: Angels hit on all cylinders to rout Mariners in home opener


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ANAHEIM — The Angels played the type of game that a ballpark full of red-clad fans would have loved to see in their first chance of the year to watch a home game.

Presumably they still enjoyed it on television.

The Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 10-2 on Tuesday night in their first home game in this unprecedented season, with red tarps covering many of the sections in the field level of a fan-free Angel Stadium.

The coronavirus pandemic, of course, has left teams to improvise on the atmosphere while trying to have business as usual between the lines. The stadium entertainment crew had plenty of chances to turn up the artificial crowd noise.

Anthony Rendon, who had missed the first four games on the road because of oblique tightness, made his debut in the Angels home whites and capped the blowout with a two-run homer in the eighth inning.

Albert Pujols hit the 657th homer of his career, pulling him within three of Willie Mays for fifth on the all-time list. Max Stassi hit a three-run homer to break the game open in the fourth.

David Fletcher continued his torrid start in the leadoff spot, reaching base four times, with two hits and two walks. Fletcher is 10 for 18 this season.

Likely the starting shortstop while Andrelton Simmons is out with a sprained ankle, Fletcher also made a spectacular play in shallow right field on a shift, fielding a bouncer and spinning to make a perfect throw.

Shohei Ohtani, who began the season in a 1-for-12 slump after outs in his first three at-bats Tuesday, drilled an RBI double off the right-field wall.

Everyone in the Angels starting lineup reached safely.

On the mound, left-hander Patrick Sandoval was impressive in his first start of the season, allowing one earned run in four-plus innings. Sandoval was on a relatively short leash because he missed the start of summer camp after a June bout with the coronavirus.

Sandoval had not thrown more than three innings in any of the intrasquad or exhibition games, but Manager Joe Maddon sent him out for the fifth with a chance to earn his first big league victory.

Sandoval had thrown just 51 pitches through four innings and had a 5-1 lead, thanks to Stassi’s homer.

He gave up a double to Dylan Moore and then speedy Mallex Smith reached on an error by second baseman Tommy La Stella, which ended Sandoval’s night.

Relievers Noe Ramirez, Ryan Buchter, Mike Mayers, Jacob Barnes and Keynan Middleton did not allow a run.

More to come on this story.

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