Bad first inning dooms Angels in third straight loss

Patrick Sandoval allowed five runs in the first inning in the Angels 7-5 loss to the Reds.

CINCINNATI — The Angels fought their way back into the game, but couldn’t overcome a rough start by Patrick Sandoval in a 7-5 loss to the Reds Saturday.

Sandoval allowed seven runs, all earned with six hits, five walks and six strikeouts in four-plus innings of work. Five of his seven runs were allowed in the first inning when a strange ruling by the umpires seemed to cause Sandoval to briefly unravel.

Spencer Steer hit a hard ground ball to Luis Rengifo at third base. Rengifo airmailed a throw to first and Steer took off for second base. Nolan Schanuel played the ball off the fence and threw Steer out at second base.

After review, the umpires awarded second base to Steer even though the ball never left the field of play. The ruling was that the ball hit the netting between the fence which is automatically ruled a dead ball.

Immediately after, Sandoval allowed a run-scoring double to Stuart Fairchild. After two walks, Tyler Stephenson hit a grand slam to give the Reds a 5-2 lead after one inning.

Sandoval bounced back after that and threw three scoreless innings. He ran into trouble in the fifth inning with another RBI hit by Fairchild before being lifted for Jose Suarez. Suarez walked in a run before escaping the inning with a 7-2 deficit.

39 percent of Sandoval’s pitches were changeups Saturday and his fastball was ineffective. He drew zero whiffs on his fastball and only 9 total. His average velocity was down 0.9 miles per hour but his spin rate was slightly up on all of his pitches.

The Angels bats battled the team back into the game. Miguel Sano hit a run-scoring double in the first inning and Brandon Drury had a RBI groundout in the frame.

In the sixth inning Sano hit his first home run as an Angel, a 391-foot two-run home run to right field. It was Sano’s first home run since April 15, 2022 with the Twins.

Rengifo drove in a run on a groundout in the sixth to cut the Reds lead to 7-5.

Hunter Strickland and Luis Garcia were effective out of the bullpen for the Angels. The pair allowed just two baserunners in 2.1 innings with four strikeouts.

The game started on a down note for the Angels when Anthony Rendon left the game with a leg injury while legging out an infield single to leadoff the game. Erica Weston of Bally Sports West reported that Rendon suffered a hamstring injury and the team will have further updates after the game.