Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon struggled for most of the Angels’ weekend series against the Washington Nationals. Both found hits to give Los Angeles a comeback win in Sunday’s Finals.
Ohtani hit a two-run brace, Rendon followed with a game-ending single against his old team, and the Angels stole a 5-4 win to take the three-game set.
“What’s so fun about this team and this offense is that we can get on fire at any time,” Rendon said. We had games where we were shut out as batters for eight innings and then we came in and we won.
The Angels trailed 4-2 going into the ninth. Luis Rengifo tied with one out and went third on Taylor Ward’s hit. Mike Trout punched in, then Ohtani drove a slider from Tanner Rainey (0-1) to the wall in the center to equalize it.
The reigning AL MVP had been 1 of 11 in the weekend series prior to this at bat.
Rendon then fielded a single down the middle and Ohtani slipped to avoid Victor Robles’ home run.
“I got off to a good start. The way that ball landed, I was going to be able to score easily,” Ohtani said through an interpreter.
Rendon was 0-for-8 in the first two games but had two hits on Sunday to sink a team he spent seven seasons with and won a World Series title in 2019.
It’s the fourth hit of his career and the first since signing with the Angels in 2020.
“I thought I got away with one with Trout and then come back to face Ohtani and the slider stays on the plate and the area too much and he does what he has to do,” Rainey said. “I was trying to get on Rendon and I didn’t get up enough.”
Jack Mayfield also drove in two runs and Jaime Barria (1-0) earned the win for the Angels, who earned their second victory this season.
“They threw us well, we were in a bit of an attacking funk. But we were good late,” Los Angeles manager Joe Maddon said. “We did a lot of good things, but our team is capable of more offensively.
All 11 Nationals hits were singles, including three by César Hernández. It’s the first time since 2004, when they were at the Montreal Expos, that they had at least 11 hits without any going for extra bases.
Erick Fedde allowed just two hits in five innings with five walks and four strikeouts. The right-hander went a season-high seven innings on May 3 at Colorado and allowed just one earned run in his last 12 innings pitched.
Los Angeles starter Patrick Sandoval allowed three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
Washington opened the scoring in third. With the bases loaded, Riley Adams scored on a slow ground by Juan Soto in the middle who had a chance for a single, but Angels shortstop Andrew Velazquez made a diving stop and threw behind his back. to knock out Hernández in second place.
The Nationals extended their lead to 3-0 in the sixth on a sacrifice fly ball from Lane Thomas and an RBI base hit by Alcides Escobar.
The Angels responded in half on Mayfield’s two-run single, which snapped an 0-for-11 skid.
The Nationals veered on a run to seventh on an RBI single from Josh Bell before the Angels rallied.
SIGNS OF ESCAPE?
Ohtani is 5-of-26 in May and batted just .235, but the two-way Japanese superstar got more consistent contact over the weekend and drove him to left field.
“After the last two games, I feel much better. I get a better angle on the ball and put it in the air. Take a few more days and I should be able to make it,” Ohtani said.
Nationals: Pitchers Stephen Strasburg (chest outlet recovery) and Joe Ross (right elbow bone spur removal) are on track to pitch two-inning mock games this week at the Spring Training Center at the team in Florida.
Angels: INF David Fletcher (left hip strain) and Jose Rojas (undisclosed) were placed on the injured reserve. INF Luis Rengifo was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake and OF contract Aaron Whitefield was selected from Double-A Rocket City.
Nationals: Start a six-game homestand against the New York Mets on Tuesday. LHP Patrick Corbin (0-5, 7.16) is 5-8 in 20 career starts against the Mets.
Angels: Host the Tampa Bay Rays for three games starting Monday. RHP Noah Syndergaard (2-1, 2.63 ERA) has allowed two runs or less in three of his four starts.
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