This road trip started really well. And then the Rays went to Los Angeles. Then things stopped being fun and started being frustrating. With the Rays facing off against Ohtani for the final game of the series, it seemed likely that things weren’t going to be pretty following Tuesday’s no-hitter. And yet, it was an uncharacteristic Ohtani on the mound for the game, at least initially, giving up walks, throwing a wild pitch, giving up a home run.
The Rays’ starter was Shane McClanahan and he was doing some solidly Shane McClanahan things against the Angels tonight.
The Rays went down 1-2-3 in the first, and in the bottom of the inning Marsh singled to lead things off, then with one out Marsh got an aggressive lead and McClanahan threw over to first. It was initially ruled safe, but Tampa challenged the play and won the challenge, so it was two out, and the inning ended with the next batter.
With two out in the second, Kiermaier came to bat and got a gorgeous center field solo home run to give the Rays the first run of the game. The Angels went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.
Phillips drew a one-out walk in the top of the third, then was able to steal second on a wild pitch. The Diaz drew a walk. The next two batters were out, however, so the threat from the Rays amounted to nothing more than some RISPys. In the bottom of the inning Mayfield walked to lead things off, then with two outs he managed to steal second, but the next out ended the inning.
Onto the fourth, Ohtani reached on a one-out single that was a rather ugly mess at first base between McClanahan and Ji-Man Choi, then stole second on a second out. Walsh reached on a called single on an infield hit back to McClanahan, but it was also reviewed, and ruled an out upon challenge, ending the inning for the Rays.
Phillips got a cute little bouncing single to end his hitless streak and put the Rays on with two outs in the fifth. Sadly he would stay on base as the Rays failed to bring him home. Romine got a two-out single in the bottom of the fifth but the only thing that succeeded in doing was making me google whether or not his brother Andrew used to play for the Angels (he did, it’s where he started his major league career.)
You know, if what you wanted from baseball was a speedier pace of play, then this was probably a great game for you, but there sure wasn’t a heck of a lot happening on the field. Rays went 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth, that was also the end of the night for Ohtani, who did better by abandoning his fastball later in the game, but had given up the Rays’ early run.. The Angels went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.
In the top of the seventh Mejia struck out to lead things off but it also managed to nail him in the hip, which... ouch. The inning was 1-2-3 for the Rays. Ditto the Angels, and that was the end of the night for McClanahan, whose final line for the night was 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K on 100 pitches. A very nice evening of work.
In the eighth Walls got a leadoff single, and was then able to steal second. A sac back to the pitcher Tepera from Phillips got Walls to third. Turned out to be some good baserunning because Diaz grounded out to shortstop giving Walls the space he needed to get home, putting the Rays up 2-0.
Kittredge was on for the Rays in the bottom of the inning and gave up a leadoff single to Mayfield. Wade hit a ball almost directly to Brujan, but because of Brujan’s place between first and second he was only able to get the tag out, and Wade safely reached first on what’s being called a fielder’s choice but certainly a weird-looking one. Ward then messed up everything by hitting a two-run homer. Wade Ward sounds like a Marvel hero. Anyway, he was an Angels hero for tying the game. Rengifo perfectly placed a single down the middle, and with Ohtani coming up, Kittredge’s night was over. Real bummer for McClanahan who had such a great night up to that point. Poche was the next man up, and he struck out Ohtani to end the inning.
Arozarena got a one-out walk in the top of the ninth, and being Randy he stole second. Alas, he did not end up scoring. In the bottom of the inning it was Feyereisen’s Mustache pitching to keep the Rays in it for extras. The Mustache succeeded where full beards before him had failed, and the game was on its way to the 10th.
Kiermaier was to be the ghost runner, and away we go. Right off the hop things started going right. Brujan doubled, easily scoring Kiermaier, then he stole third. Ramirez pinch hit for Phillips and singled to score Brujan. Those two runs would hopefully be all it took, as the game went to the bottom of the tenth. Brooks Raley was the next pitcher in for the Rays, and while he lacked mustache power, Cash clearly believed in him. Walls bobbled an infield hit but was able to get it to first for the out, and then lo, Mike Trout off the bench. Trout walked, which tbh, phew. Ward hit into a fielder’s choice to eliminate Trout but put runners at the corners. Raley managed to battle out the last strikeout and the game went to the Rays.
Final: Rays 4, Angels 2