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OC Register: Angels suffer most lopsided loss of 2023 in doubleheader split

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ANAHEIM ― The ball bounced lazily to Angels center fielder Jordyn Adams, nicked off the heel of his glove, and skipped about 15 feet to his right. By the time he looked up, Yandy Diaz was rounding first, turning a routine single into a free trip to second base. Adams relayed the ball to the infield and slouched sadly, leaning his hands on his knees.

It wasn’t Adams’ lowest moment in the Angels’ night game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. The play hardly mattered, either. The next batter, Randy Arozarena, hit a two-run home run in the Angels’ 18-4 loss before an announced crowd of 35,803.

A doubleheader Saturday that began with a 7-6 win ended with the Angels’ most lopsided loss of 2023. It left the Angels with a 61-64 record, eight games behind the Seattle Mariners (68-55) for the final wild card berth in the American League.

The nature of wins and losses become less important as the regular season reaches its conclusion. The Angels are 5-13 in August, pushing them farther and farther from the fringes of playoff contention. A win is a win; a loss, a loss. Still, the lopsided nature of their loss in Game 2 was difficult to ignore.

Adams, 23, began the day on a positive note. After going hitless in his first eight major league games, Adams’ third-inning single was the Angels’ first hit against Tampa Bay starter Zack Eflin.

The Angels were down 2-0 when Patrick Sandoval (6-10) got two quick outs to begin the fifth inning. Randy Arozarena lofted a fly ball to center field, where Adams camped squarely underneath it. When the ball inexplicably bounced in and out of Adams’ glove, the inning continued.

What followed was a nightmare for the Angels. Harold Ramirez singled. Isaac Paredes singled, scoring Arozarena. Curtis Mead hit a double down the left-field line, scoring two more runs. Osleivis Basabe doubled, scoring Mead and sending Sandoval to the showers with a 6-0 deficit.

For Sandoval, who was also on the losing end of a 12-0 defeat Monday in Texas, his final line told the story: four unearned runs allowed (and only two earned) in 4 ⅔ innings. After getting Arozarena to hit into the apparent third out of the fifth inning, he threw another 19 pitches while failing to record an out.

Remarkably, the game spiraled even further from the Angels’ drip with Jaime Barría on the mound. Tampa Bay scored seven runs in the sixth inning and two in the seventh. Home runs by Paredes and Jose Siri were long and loud enough to absolve Adams of any singular responsibility for the loss.

Barría was charged with nine runs in 2 ⅓ innings. Jimmy Herget allowed two runs in the eighth inning and backup infielder Eduardo Escobar lobbed 37-mph changeups and 83-mph fastballs while allowing one run in the ninth.

The Angels got all their runs on a pair of homers: Hunter Renfroe’s 18th of the season, a solo shot against Eflin in the fifth inning, and a three-run home run by Brandon Drury in the eighth.

Drury also homered in the afternoon game Saturday, giving him 17 for the season. The Angels won that game with a stalwart effort from their bullpen, who allowed one run over the final 5 ⅓ innings after an abbreviated start from Chase Silseth.

Drury had three of the Angels’ nine hits, while Thaiss had two. Randal Grichuk contributed an RBI double and pulled back what appeared to be a home run by Diaz in the second inning, leaping above the fence in left-center field for the third out. According to Statcast, the fly ball would have fallen just short of a home run.

Griffin Canning (7-4) allowed one run in 3 ⅓ innings. Matt Moore tossed a scoreless eighth inning. Reynaldo Lopez handled the ninth on a day off for closer Carlos Estevez, and survived a leadoff single to record the save.

The Angels will have a day off Sunday before welcoming the Cincinnati Reds for a three-game series beginning Monday.

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