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OC Register: Angels snap winning streak with loss to Pirates

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ANAHEIM – There was no power play available to save the Angels on Saturday, and not even the current king of all long balls could bail out his club.

The Angels saw their franchise-record 19-game home-run streak come to an end in a 3-0 defeat to the Pittsburgh Pirates that also ended a four-game winning streak.

The defiant Angels, who had been winning of late without the injured Mike Trout, will continue their race against time to prove they are a playoff worthy club. If they can make a case for themselves before the trade deadline in just over a week, the ultimate reward would be to keep Shohei Ohtani and his baseball-best 35 home runs.

Ohtani did not have thunder at the ready Saturday as the Angels were tied up by opener Ryan Borucki and partner in crime Osvaldo Bido as the pair combined for 4 2/3 scoreless innings at the outset.

The Pittsburgh bullpen continued the theme the rest of the way, although right-hander David Bednar loaded the bases with one out in the ninth inning before Angels rookie Trey Cabbage grounded into a game-ending double play. It was Bednar’s 19th save.

It was a far cry from Friday’s series opener when the Angels mashed four home runs to give them an American League-best 151 on the season.

A simple sprinkle of situational hitting would have saved them Saturday. In a scoreless game in the fourth inning, the Angels loaded the bases with nobody out against Bido (2-1). But Matt Thaiss lined into a double play and Hunter Renfroe struck out to end the threat.

Pittsburgh’s defensive momentum carried into the fifth inning on offense when Bryan Reynolds delivered a one-out RBI single against left-hander Reid Detmers (2-7) and Carlos Santana added a two-out run-scoring double for a 2-0 lead.

Pirates rookie Endy Rodriguez hit his first-career home run in the sixth, punctuating the occasion with a bat flip. For the first time this month, the Angels were unable to match the gesture, even if they were so inclined.

In the seventh, the Angels squandered a one-out double from Renfroe, leaving him at second base to end the inning.

Ohtani went 0-for-4, striking out in the first and third innings before he lined out to center field with a runner on base in the fifth against Pirates left-hander Jose Hernandez.

Trading Ohtani by the deadline still is considered a long shot, even if such a deal would bring back a franchise-altering package of talent.

But even one of the most feared hitters in baseball can be rendered a mere mortal on occasion. Ohtani struck out for the third time in the eighth inning against right-hander Carmen Mlodzinski and never got another chance to be the hero.

The Angels were shut out for the first time since they were blanked in consecutive games by the Dodgers on June 20-21. Despite the loss, they are 5-3 since the All-Star break and will play their final home game before the trade deadline on Sunday against the Pirates.

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