Welcoming the Angels into town, Ryan Yarbrough and the Rays looked to start the series on the right foot against the team with the best player in baseball.
Yarbrough’s night got off to a very rough start in the first inning of this game. After a leadoff double from Tommy La Stella and a Mike Trout hit by pitch, Shohei Ohtani hit a three-run home run into the left field seats to give Anaheim an instant 3-0 lead. Yarbrough would get out of the inning after walking a batter and hitting another, but this start was not ideal.
Tyler Skaggs took the mound for the Angels, and through three and one third innings, Skaggs was good, not allowing any runs, even though the Rays put pressure on in each inning.
Three and one third innings seems like a rather arbitrary piece of Skaggs’ outing to highlight, but in the middle of Skaggs’ second batter in the bottom of the fourth, Travis d’Arnaud, the power went out at Tropicana Field thanks to a fire in downtown St. Pete.
After a 36 minute delay, the power was back and baseball resumed with Travis d’Arnaud in the middle of an 0-2 count, ultimately ending in d’Arnaud striking out.
Ryan Yarbrough cruised through three innings following his rough first, but the fifth inning arrived and things started to come off of the rails again. Shohei Ohtani, who doubled earlier in the game after hitting his home run, tripled off of Yarbrough to put a runner in scoring position for Albert Pujols. Pujols took a swing that took things back to 2006, hitting a two-run homer and extending the Angels’ lead to 5-0.
The Rays’ offense responded well in the bottom of the fifth, with five hits scoring three runs to bring the team within a fighting chance of the Angels.
Daniel Robertson started the fifth inning with a base hit, and Mike Zunino advanced Robertson to third with a double. With two runners in scoring position, Tommy Pham drove a ball into center field to score both runners and a Brandon Lowe single advanced Pham to third and Lowe to second. Yandy Diaz drove home Pham and Anaheim’s lead was now only two, a 5-3 ballgame.
Hunter Wood replaced Yarbrough in the top of the seventh, after Yarbrough threw 58 strikes on 90 pitches, allowing five runs on five hits, walking one and striking out two over six innings of work. Noe Ramirez replaced Tyler Skaggs after Skaggs threw five innings.
With a home run, a double and a triple to his record so far tonight, all Shohei Ohtani needed for the cycle was a single. With a full count, facing Hunter Wood, Ohtani made history, hitting a ball to center field and tagging first base to complete the cycle.
Justin Anderson was called upon to record the last out of the bottom of the eighth after Noe Ramirez threw 2.2 scoreless innings, and Anderson did just that by striking out Kevin Kiermaier. Chaz Roe relieved Hunter Wood in the ninth after Wood threw two scoreless innings, with Roe shutting down the Angels bats to pitch a quiet ninth inning. Cam Bedrosian closed this game out to secure the Angels victory over the Rays, 5-3.
On a night where the bats seemed to come up just short in many situations, it was Ryan Yarbrough’s forgetful outing that made the difference, allowing two runs too many. The Rays and Angels play again tomorrow night inside of Tropicana Field at 7 pm.