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    Angels score early, bullpen holds lead to secure victory for Griffin Canning
    • April 26, 2023

    ANAHEIM —Griffin Canning achieved a milestone on Tuesday night, picking up his first victory since June 2021, before he spent a season and a half recovering from a back injury.

    But the Angels right-hander wasn’t celebrating his personal success after the Angels’ 5-3 victory over the Oakland A’s.

    “I’m just happy the team won,” Canning said. “Doesn’t matter if I get it or somebody else. I want to go out there and give the team the best chance to win.”

    Canning added that this was “a really good team win. Some timely hitting, some good defense and the bullpen came in and did a great job.”

    The Angels needed all of that after a discouraging 10-inning loss to the hapless A’s on Monday night. After also losing to the last-place Kansas City Royals on Saturday, the Angels were struggling to rack up victories against those two rebuilding teams at the clip they had hoped. They are now 3-2 on the homestand, and 12-12 on the season, with two more games to go against Oakland.

    The list of positive developments on Tuesday began with Canning, but most notably included an effective night for the bullpen. The Angels’ two best relievers, Matt Moore and Carlos Estévez, had both been unavailable on Monday, but they split the final nine outs on Tuesday.

    “Knowing the way these past few games have been, knowing the team needed me, my guys in the bullpen needed me, it feels great to go out there and show everyone that ‘Hey, I got your back,’” said Estévez, who recorded the final five outs. “I’m here. I can do it.”

    They secured a victory for Canning, who was charged with three runs in five-plus innings. One of the runs scored after he was out of the game.

    “A lot of things are feel for him, with the breaking stuff and the changeup,” Manager Phil Nevin said. “You take almost two years off, it’s hard to get that back. It takes some time. But he’s been really good for us.”

    Canning has worked at least five innings in all three games, but he hasn’t yet finished the sixth inning. He allowed two runs in each of his first two starts.

    “I feel great,” Canning said. “I feel like I’m finding my breaking pitches a little bit earlier in each game. A lot of positives.”

    Canning gave up a run in the first and then cruised through three innings. In the fifth, he began to show some signs of trouble, allowing a homer to Shea Langeliers and a single to No. 9 hitter Kevin Smith, both on misplaced off-speed pitches.

    Canning also threw three of his slowest five fastballs of the game, which is a sign Nevin often cites when explaining why he pulls pitchers. Nevin left Canning out to face right-hander Brent Rooker leading off the sixth, and he gave up a double.

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    With two lefties due in the next three hitters, left-hander Aaron Loup entered. He got two outs before giving up a run-scoring double to right-handed pinch-hitter Jordan Diaz.

    That run cut the Angels’ lead to 4-3, which is tighter than it seemed the game would be after the Angels began the game with four runs in the first inning.

    Facing flame-throwing right-hander Mason Miller in his second major league start, the Angels saw a steady stream of 100 mph fastballs.

    Mike Trout doubled down the right field line. An out later, Anthony Rendon walked. Both scored when Brandon Drury’s hit dropped in front of center fielder Esteury Ruiz and rolled to the warning track. Luis Rengifo then knocked in Drury and stole second, and Gio Urshela drove in Rengifo.

    Taylor Ward knocked in an insurance run with a two-out single in the sixth. Ward, who also singled in the second, had been in a 5-for-43 slump.

    ​ Orange County Register