Tenth inning pressure cracks Angels defense in loss to Marlins

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Shohei Ohtani dominated the hill in the second game of the series, but a messy tenth inning left the team with a 8-5 loss to the Miami Marlins.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — After taking the series against the Minnesota Twins and sweeping the Boston Red Sox at home, the Angels were on a roll going into Saturday’s game behind Shohei Ohtani, but a slew of fielding errors and a late cracking of the bullpen left the team with a 8-5 loss to the Miami Marlins. 

It was a back and forth game throughout 10 innings, with lots of noteworthy moments to cover from Matt Thaiss’ clutch hit off the bench to Gio Urshela’s big homer and Ohtani’s performance. Here are the the three biggest takeaways from tonight’s game: 

Ohtani records 10 strikeouts

When Ohtani steps onto any baseball field, the expectations are beyond belief. If he steps up to the plate, the expectations are that he will break a Major League Baseball record, and when he steps on the hill, those high expectations remain firmly in place. 

Of course, the two-way sensation has had plenty of those historical moments over the course of his career. But even when he’s not joining Babe Ruth as one of two players to record 500+ strikeouts and 100+ home runs or being named MVP of the 2023 World Baseball Classic, Ohtani’s everyday pitching ability is exceptional, and today’s outing provided even more evidence to support that claim, in spite of the game’s result. 

Against the No. 3 team in the NL East, Ohtani pitched six innings with six hits, two runs (one earned), three walks and ten strikeouts. This was his 14th game recording 10+ strikeouts since the start of last season, and he leads American League pitchers with 90 strikeouts. 

“I think every time he goes out there, as we’ve all talked about, you are anticipating something great will happen. What you term ‘a normal outing’ for him is usually pretty good for others,” said Nevin. “If you dive into it, if he goes out and has a normal outing, it’s really good.” 

He had a bumpy start to the evening as he recorded a fielding error — the second of his career — in the top of the first. A two-base throwing error put Jonathan Davis in scoring position with two outs, and an RBI single from Yuli Gurriel brought him home to leave the Angels down one run early in the game. 

However, he made a swift recovery going into the second inning, relying heavily on his four-seam fastball to retire batters and record three scoreless innings. He logged his only earned run of the night in the fifth inning after a single from Luis Arraez scored Jacob Stallings. 

On the field, Ohtani also stole his seventh base of the season. 

Urshela’s consistency at the plate pays off

Nestled toward the bottom of the lineup, Urshela has displayed serious consistency at the plate throughout this season, leading the team in batting average (.318) and ranking second in the American League for singles with 47 behind Bo Bichette from the Blue Jays. 

His plate appearances tonight were crucial to the runs scored. He hit his seventh double of the season in the second inning to bring home Jared Walsh, and pushed the game into extra innings after tying the score with a 402 ft home run driven over the center field wall – his second homer of the season. 

Trailing the Marlins in the tenth, he hit a single to right field to score the ghost runner, leaving the final score at 8-5. 

Before today’s game, Nevin said that he’s content keeping Urshela where he is in the lineup because it maximizes the chances that he will hit with runners on base. 

“I like him getting out there with guys on base,” said Nevin. “It’s what’s comfortable for him and what I feel is best for him is to hit him down on the bottom of the order and still have that turnaround effect. It’s like another leadoff hitter down there for what we have at the time, and I think Gio has a lot of those capabilities.”

Angels lose it in the tenth

Thaiss — who played a total of 29 games last year — continues to show promise at the plate now that he’s been getting more time on the field. Coming off the bench to pinch hit for Chad Wallach, he put the Angels back in the game with a two-run single to score Brandon Drury and Walsh in the sixth. 

However, the bullpen lost the lead late in the game and the offense struggled to recover the lost runs in extra innings.

Chase Silseth – who recently transitioned back to the bullpen to be used as a high-leverage reliever – stepped in for Ohtani in the seventh, but after a couple wild pitches, he gave up a two-run home run to Jorge Soler, who has homered in his last five games. 

Chris Devenski stepped into the game with runners on base — a situation that has occurred multiple times on the Angels’ current homestand. In his past four appearances, he has stranded all of the runners he’s inherited in relief. He struck out all three batters he faced tonight, and Carlos Estevéz did the same, giving the Halos a chance to claim a victory. 

It was Jaime Barría who struggled in the tenth and gave up four runs. After intentionally walking Gurriel with a ghost runner at second, Garrett Cooper hit a fly ball to left center field that was dropped by Mickey Moniak, resulting in a run scored by Arraez.

Moniak’s error was the beginning of the end for the Halos. After Thaiss failed to tag home plate on a force out to complete a double play, the Marlins gained momentum and went on to score three more runs in the tenth to secure eight total runs for the night.

Moniak said after the game that he overran the ball by a few steps, and he wasn’t able to recover with a basket-style catch.

“I think it was just a play that I messed up. I think that I make that play nine times out of ten. Unfortunately, this happened to be in the tenth inning in an extra innings game, and it cost us a few runs and I’ll take full blame for that one,” said Moniak. 

After the game, Nevin said that the reason Matt Moore didn’t step in to pitch is because he pulled an oblique on his right side yesterday during warm ups, and he will be placed on the IL. Moore said he felt the pain when he was throwing and got an MRI on Saturday to confirm. He said he’s never had this kind of injury before and will refrain from throwing until the strain starts to feel better.

“We’re just trying to wait until it calms down and then we’ll pick up throwing,” said Moore. 

Ben Joyce will be in the Angels clubhouse tomorrow as they take on the Marlins for the final game of the homestand.