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OC Register: Homers by Shohei Ohtani, Jack Mayfield power Angels past Yankees

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ANAHEIM — You will not be surprised to know that Shohei Ohtani is one of the players tied for the Angels lead in home runs since the All-Star break.

You probably wouldn’t guess that he’s tied with Jack Mayfield though.

Ohtani homered and Mayfield hit his first career grand slam on Monday night, and the Angels beat the New York Yankees, 8-7, with the go-ahead run scoring in the eighth on Juan Lagares’ third hit of the night.

Ohtani and Mayfield each have hit nine homers since the break, which has given Ohtani a major league-leading 42 homers and an inside track to the American League MVP award.

It’s given Mayfield … nine homers.

The journeyman infielder had barely played in the big leagues in the first half. He got a shot at regular playing time at third base after Anthony Rendon got hurt in early July. And just this week he’s gotten the chance to show what he can do at shortstop.

Mayfield was getting his third start at the position in the past four games, which certainly led to the assumption that something must be wrong with José Iglesias.

But Manager Joe Maddon said before the game that Iglesias is fine, and the Angels simply wanted to see more of Mayfield at shortstop as they plan for the future.

Mayfield has played second, third and shortstop – with some spectacular defense at third – and he’s produced a .682 OPS that is build mostly on his surprising power.

“He’s done good work,” Maddon said. “Let’s give him an opportunity. I’m not saying anything is etched in stone by any means for next year, but I want to see him at shortstop a little bit too.”

Mayfield is 30 and he’s switched teams by waivers three times already this year, so he is probably not in consideration for an everyday shortstop job, but he certainly could be a utility infielder who would make close to the major league minimum salary next year.

Mayfield’s first career grand slam came in the fourth inning against Corey Kluber, putting the Angels ahead 5-2 in a game that would become a slugfest.

It was no surprise the Angels had trouble holding down the Yankees. With their pitching staff depleted by injuries, they were starting Mike Mayers in a bullpen game.

Mayers gave up hits to the first three hitters of the game, leading to two runs. Although Mayers, Sam Selman and Andrew Wantz held the Yankees scoreless for the next three innings, José Quijada was charged with three runs in the fifth to tie the score.

Steve Cishek, who allowed the last two of Quijada’s runs to score, finished the fifth and worked the sixth, holding the lead provided by Ohtani’s homer against former teammate Andrew Heaney.

The lead didn’t make it past the seventh, though.

Junior Guerra issued a walk to Anthony Rizzo and then Giancarlo Stanton blasted a 458-foot drive into the rocks beyond the center field fence, tying the score, 7-7.

More to come on this story.

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