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OC Register: Angels lose in the 9th after Jo Adell’s go-ahead homer


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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — An oblique injury in July cost Jo Adell an extended opportunity to show whether he’s finally ready to perform in the majors.

Now, he’s trying to make the most of the season’s final two weeks.

Adell’s sixth-inning two-run homer gave the Angels the lead in a game they lost 5-4 when the Tampa Bay Rays scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth against closer Carlos Estévez on Thursday afternoon.

Rookies José Soriano and Ben Joyce each worked scoreless innings to get the one-run lead to Estévez.

The ninth began with a Harold Ramirez single off the left-field fence and Yandy Diaz’s single just past shortstop Zach Neto. An out later, Isaac Paredes tied the game with a single.

Manny Margot dropped a blooper into right with two outs to win it.

Although the Angels lost the rubber game of the series, Adell’s homer was a positive development as they look toward the future.

In three games since returning from a 10-week stay on the injured list, Adell is 3 for 12 with a double and a homer. He has also struck out five times. He made some nice catches on tough line drives Wednesday.

Once one of the top prospects in all of baseball, Adell, 24, has not lived up to his potential in the majors.

His 23 homers in the first half at Triple-A provided some hope that he was turning the corner in his career. When Mike Trout got hurt July 3, Adell was summoned with an opportunity to play.

Adell played just four big-league games between Trout’s injury and his own.

“I think that was the thing that was most disappointing when I got hurt, just knowing you know the roster shrinkage and the players that were already down,” Adell said earlier this week. “It felt like a chance for me to come and really help, with the roster kind of diminishing a little bit.”

Adell said he might have first tweaked his oblique when he was leaping to rob a homer July 7 at Dodger Stadium. The next day, he “had a little bit of overwork” before the game, and he strained his oblique on a swing in his first at-bat.

Adell said when he hurt his oblique late in 2021 he rushed back, so this time he and the Angels were extra cautious. He also said he has “a better routine now,” which he thinks can prevent a recurrence.

“I’m not really worried about it,” he said. “It’s a thing of the past.”

Adell spent the rest of July and all of August rehabbing in Arizona. He reported to Triple-A Salt Lake earlier this month for some workouts, and he played in two games last weekend and hit his 25th homer.

“These last couple weeks of rehab, I was getting really antsy,” he said. “I trusted our process of getting back and doing the things we need to do.”

On Thursday, Adell singled and walked in his first two trips. His homer was just in time for Griffin Canning to have a chance at a victory after he had allowed two runs in five innings.

Canning worked around trouble for much of his afternoon.

The right-hander allowed the first three hitters of the game to reach base, knocking in one run, but he escaped without further damage with a popup, strikeout and groundout. Two of the first three hitters in the fourth reached.

Canning began the fifth with 82 pitches and then issued a walk to Diaz, with the middle of the Rays order due. Manager Phil Nevin left Canning in the game, and he struck out Brandon Lowe, Paredes and Randy Arozarena.

More to come on this story.

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