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    Angels fail to cash in on opportunities in 2-1 loss to Phillies
    • May 2, 2024

    ANAHEIM — Just when the Angels found enough pitching to slow down the Philadelphia Phillies, they couldn’t find a big hit.

    The Angels wasted a solid performance on the mound in a 2-1 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon.

    Starter Patrick Sandoval gave up both runs on a second-inning single, but then he didn’t give up anything else through five innings. Four Angels relievers then shut out the Phillies.

    The problem, however, was that the Angels couldn’t come through in numerous opportunities to score, both against Phillies ace Zack Wheeler and the relievers who followed him. The only run was Ehire Adrianza’s homer in the second.

    “We had some opportunities to put some runs on board, and we’ve got to learn how to do it,” Manager Ron Washington said. “We’ve just got to learn how to touch the ball and put it in play. And keep things working that way until our office starts clicking.”

    The ninth inning was particularly disappointing for the Angels (11-20), who had runners at the corners with one out. Jo Adell could have tied the score with a fly ball, but he struck out. Taylor Ward then hit a fly ball to the warning track in left field, ending the game.

    Earlier in the game, Matt Thaiss struck out to strand two runners in the first and third innings. In the fifth, Adell struck out with no outs and a runner at third. Ward and Luis Rengifo then hit line drives to Phillies infielders. Rengifo’s left the bat at 101 mph.

    In the eighth, Ward led off with a single but was then was caught trying to steal second base when he wasn’t even supposed to go. Ward missed a sign.

    “I need to do a better job of just paying attention over there,” Ward said. “The signs I was given, I thought I saw something and it wasn’t that. So just got to tighten that up.”

    Rengifo followed with a single. Pinch-hitter Logan O’Hoppe then hit a ball 111 mph, but directly to left fielder Kyle Schwarber. After an infield hit, Cole Tucker hit a flyout.

    To go with the failure in the ninth, the Angels were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position, and they left 11 runners on base.

    Washington might have lamented the missed opportunities, but instead he was encouraged that the Angels were even creating those opportunities.

    “We went out there today and they had one of the best pitchers in baseball out there,” Washington said. “And we battled him and we kept putting ourselves in position to do something good. It just didn’t happen.”

    Washington was also satisfied with the work of his pitchers, starting with Sandoval, who struck out 10.

    Sandoval threw 36 sliders and 27 changeups among his 102 pitches, the second straight start in which he largely shelved his two fastballs. He threw 14 first-pitch strikes in the 21 batters he faced, a significant improvement from his previous outings.

    “Minus that second inning, I feel like I had my best stuff of the whole year,” Sandoval said.

    He got into a jam in the second, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk. Schwarber’s single up the middle, which scored both runs, would have been an out if it hadn’t hit a divot on the mound and taken a turn past shortstop Zach Neto.

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    “I was going toward the right direction,” Neto said. “It’s one of those things that happens in the game.”

    Relievers Hunter Strickland, Amir Garrett, Adam Cimber and Luis Garcia shut down the Phillies over the final four innings, striking out eight more hitters. Rengifo saved a run when he quickly responded after a line drive hopped away from him, firing the ball home in time to get an out at the plate.

    It wasn’t good enough to win, though. After a come-from-behind one-run victory on Monday, the Angels couldn’t hold a ninth-inning lead on Tuesday before coming up just short in the rubber game of the series against the team with the most victories in the majors.

    “If we keep playing baseball the way we played the last three days against Philadelphia, we’re gonna do some good things going forward,” Washington said. “We played some good baseball these three days. Just came up on the wrong end of them.”

    ​ Orange County Register