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OC Register: Angels’ José Suarez bounces back with 5 scoreless innings, victory

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MILWAUKEE — The Angels gave José Suarez another chance and he rewarded them for their confidence.

The struggling left-hander pitched five scoreless innings in the Angels’ 3-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, a much-needed turnaround after he had posted a 10.26 ERA in his first four starts.

Even though it seemed Suarez’s last outing, when he gave up seven runs, might have been the final straw, manager Phil Nevin instead stuck with the 25-year-old. Nevin said they would evaluate him on a “start to start” basis.

So far, so good.

Suarez struck out six, including three in an eye-opening first inning, and he walked three. He allowed multiple baserunners in just one inning.

In the fourth, Suarez gave up a leadoff double to Brian Anderson but he stranded him. Anderson was at third with one out when Suarez picked up a key strikeout of Luke Voit.

Suarez used a different pitch mix to turn his fortunes. He had thrown his changeup and slider about equally, but on Sunday most of his off-speed pitches were changeups.

He replaced some of his sliders with cutters, breaking out a pitch he had never thrown before in the big leagues. According to pitch tracking data, Suarez threw 10 cutters. Four of them were called strikes, and the Brewers whiffed at two of their three swings.

Although Suarez retired the final six hitters he faced in the fourth and fifth innings, Nevin was taking no chances. He had right-hander Chris Devenski warming up throughout the fifth, and he brought him in to start the sixth.

Suarez faced just one hitter for a third time.

Devenski, making his first appearance with the Angels, worked a perfect sixth. Chase Silseth faced the minimum in the seventh. Matt Moore and Carlos Estévez worked the final two innings, with Estévez picking up his sixth save in six tries this season.

The pitching staff didn’t have much room for error because the only runs the Angels managed came on a Jake Lamb homer in the second, a Shohei Ohtani homer in the third and a Luis Rengifo RBI single in the seventh.

Ohtani’s seventh homer of the season was a towering shot that peaked at 162 feet above the field, the highest ball he’s hit this season.

More to come on this story.

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