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    Production throughout Angels’ lineup creates cushion for bullpen in victory over Mariners
    • April 4, 2023

    SEATTLE — The Angels’ 7-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Monday night provided a tidy summation of what they couldn’t do last season.

    The bottom of the order strung together a couple of rallies to produce runs early in the game, and they scored three late insurance runs on a Taylor Ward two-run homer in the eighth inning and a Brandon Drury RBI double in the ninth.

    After Angels relievers had held a one-run lead for seven outs in the fifth, sixth and seventh, the Angels suddenly made the lead big enough that the Angels didn’t even have a save situation for Carlos Estévez in the ninth.

    “We keep coming at you,” Manager Phil Nevin said. “There’s a lot of guys, top to bottom, who are going to give you a good at-bat, and we did that tonight.”

    The Angels improved to 3-1, with enough encouraging signs throughout the night to pick up starter Reid Detmers when he wasn’t at his best.

    Shohei Ohtani gave the Angels a 4-2 lead on a 431-foot two-run homer in the fifth, his second homer in as many games. Too often last season the Angels’ only offense came on homers by Ohtani or Mike Trout.

    This time, Ohtani’s homer came after the Angels had scored single runs in the second and fourth, both times with rallies produced by three hits from the bottom five hitters in the lineup.

    Drury, who was batting sixth, had hits in the middle of both rallies, part of a three-hit night.

    “Obviously the top of the lineup is as good as it gets, and I feel the lineup is real deep, one through nine,” Drury said. “It’s definitely a special lineup.”

    No. 8 hitter Luis Rengifo, who was not in the lineup until Anthony Rendon accepted his suspension about two hours before the game, drove in both runs with singles. Rengifo, who said his approach has improved since he spent so much time with José Altuve in the World Baseball Classic, also drew his fifth walk of the young season in the eighth. He was aboard for Ward’s homer.

    Just before that inning, Nevin said he turned to hitting coach Marcus Thames and said: “You give me two more, we’re winning this game. He said ‘Alright, I’ve got you.’”

    Suddenly there was breathing room for an Angels’ bullpen that last year was regularly pressed to get nine or 12 outs with a one-run lead. Ryan Tepera, Matt Moore and Jimmy Herget each held the one-one run lead on Monday, and then José Quijada and Estévez worked with the added cushion.

    Estévez, who had started warming up before Drury spoiled the save situation by padding the lead to four, finished what Detmers started.

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    Detmers has improved the velocity of all of his pitches, giving reason to believe that he might be primed for a performance even better than his 3.77 ERA in 25 starts in his rookie year.

    Detmers was throwing harder on Monday, with a fastball that averaged 95.3 mph and a slider that was 90.0 – up from 93.2 and 86.3 – but his command was lacking.

    Detmers walked three and he gave up four hits, including three doubles. The Mariners scored three runs.

    It wasn’t all his fault, though. Third baseman Gio Urshela made an error on a routine throw, leading to one of the runs being unearned. One of the doubles Detmers allowed was on a well-placed slider and another was softly hit. Detmers also struck out seven.

    “I felt good but I just gotta get ahead in counts,” Detmers said. “That was the main thing tonight. I felt like I was fighting pretty much every at-bat. Just gotta get ahead, work ahead and life’s a lot easier. But other than that, I felt good. Just have to get the fastball command down and should have better outcomes.”

    ​ Orange County Register