ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Angels had an opportunity to snatch the No.1 spot in the AL West from the Texas Rangers on Saturday night, but a quiet offense and a rough inning from Tucker Davidson kept them in that second place spot.
By the top of the ninth inning, it looked like the Angels were setting themselves up for another last-minute victory like the one they pulled off on Friday night in the first game of the series when Chad Wallach drove in two runs in the ninth and Luis Rengifo brought in the tying run with a fly ball into shallow center field. A wild pitch in the 10th scored ghost runner Zach Neto to leave the Halos with a 5-4 win and tied for first place in the AL West.
However, it was a much different story tonight as Davidson’s performance in the ninth left the team with an 8-run deficit that they couldn’t recover from.
Davidson, who previously pitched a scoreless inning in St. Louis last Thursday and earned his first career save against the Oakland A’s in April, allowed seven runs on seven hits before center fielder Brett Phillips was brought in to secure the final outs and save the bullpen from having to overextend late in the game.
“It was a three-run game going into the ninth. It was the same game we won last night, but it just didn’t work out for us,” said Angels manager Phil Nevin. “I was not going to put in a pitcher, and I was not going to let Tucker throw that many pitches.”
Reid Detmers — who has yet to earn a win this season — started the game strong, throwing three scoreless innings and striking out seven batters before the Rangers got a hold of his more hittable pitches early in the fourth. His performance on the mound tonight mirrored his last start in Milwaukee where he kept the Brewers lineup at bay for a couple innings before allowing a career-high seven runs.
The 23-year-old lefty said he’s not concerned about the quality of his pitches but more with his pitch location, and after tonight’s loss, he’ll be studying his approach and looking for areas of improvement.
“I thought I threw a lot of good pitches and they were just taking them. It’s hard when you throw a good pitch and they’re just taking them, so it makes you think a little bit,” said Detmers.
A highlight from the Angels bullpen was Ryan Tepera and Andrew Wantz working together to keep the Rangers scoreless through the eighth. Tepera, in his second start since being reinstated from the injured list (shoulder inflammation), pitched two scoreless innings.
Offensively, Brandon Drury was the only Angel to cross home plate after hitting his seventh home run of the season – a 409 ft. drive into center field. The team left 10 runners on base, and they ended the night back in second place in the AL West, one game behind Texas with a 19-15 record.
The Angels were in a similar position last year in May, but considering the added depth from the offseason, there’s a chance that the team will secure that first place spot over the next few days as they take on the Rangers tomorrow before hosting the Houston Astros this week.
“I still got a pretty darn good lineup out there, and that’s a credit to what we were able to do this offseason and what our team can be,” said Nevin. “Early in the season, we didn’t have things go our way, but I think we’ve just been consistent and resilient.”