Cleveland dropped its fourth straight after an ugly five-run second by the Los Angeles Angels pushed them to an easy 7-4 win over Sam Hentges and the Indians on Monday night.
Kicking off the second leg of their two-city West Coast trip, the Indians were tripped up after a quick start to the game had them on top by a run. The Angels tied things up quickly in the home half of the first without the aid of a hit, then knocked out Hentges in a rough second frame to coast to victory. While the club was undoubtedly excited for its series opening win, attentions were likely more focused on superstar Mike Trout, who exited the game after just one plate appearance after straining his right calf while running the bases in the first inning.
The first pitch of the ball game was scorched over the left field wall by Tribe second baseman Cesar Hernandez, greeting opener Patrick Sandoval in rude fashion in his first start of the season. The left-hander was expected to be on a pitch count, but he survived the unpleasant start to the night by settling in to work into the fifth inning, dodging a threat in the second before allowing one more run in the third.
Hentges battled command issues from the outset. He struck out Taylor Ward swinging to start the game, but walked Shohei Ohtani and Trout. A wild pitch moved both runners up and Ohtani touched home on a groundout to short by Anthony Rendon on the third full count situation for Hentges through his first four batters of the game. Jared Walsh popped to third to end the 28-pitch frame for the Tribe’s rookie left-hander, with Trout exiting while heavily favoring his right leg and later slamming his helmet into the ground near the third base dugout.
Harold Ramirez and Josh Naylor each reached in the second against Sandoval, as Ramirez ripped a single to center and Naylor was hit on the right elbow by a pitch, but Amed Rosario grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Halos broke things open with a pair of big run-producing hits in the home half of the second. Phil Gosselin doubled to left and moved to third on a single by Jose Iglesias. Juan Lagares got left fielder Eddie Rosario all tangled up in the outfield and landed at second with a double that scored both runs to break the 1-1 tie. Kurt Suzuki flied to right for the first out, but Ward drew a walk after Lagares moved up to third on a wild pitch. Ohtani stepped in for the left-on-left matchup and fell behind in the count 1-2 before getting on top of a letter-high fastball well out of the zone and blasting it deep to right for a crushing three-run home run to break the game wide open at 6-1. Hentges got the next man, but Rendon singled to left to bring skipper Terry Francona out of the dugout for more relief. Trevor Stephan took over and stopped the bleeding from there, giving up a single to Walsh before getting the tenth man to bat in the inning, Gosselin, to ground out to second.
The Tribe got a run back in the top of the third. Hernandez singled to right-center with one out. Jordan Luplow grounded out and came up lame while running to first for the second out, leaving the game after the half inning. Ramirez got the Tribe a run closer, punching a single to left to plate Hernandez while making it a 6-2 game.
Stephan pitched a scoreless third with a pair of strikeouts, while Sandoval completed his last full inning on the night with a 1-2-3 fourth. Stephan stranded runners on the corners in the bottom of the frame and the Indians threatened briefly in the fifth after A. Rosario and Rene Rivera each reached with singles, but Tony Watson took over from the bullpen and punched out the top third of the Indians lineup.
Cleveland got another run closer in the sixth against Hunter Strickland. The first batter that he faced in relief, Reyes, drilled a monstrous 452-foot homer to the left of center to lead off the inning. E. Rosario added a single ahead of a hard line out to center by H. Ramirez, bringing Steve Cishek on from the bullpen. He gave up a single to Naylor before stranding runners at second and third.
Nick Sandlin pitched two perfect innings in relief before the Angels added one final tally in the bottom of the seventh against Cal Quantrill. Jose Rojas and Rendon each singled to start his night before Walsh drove a run in with a double to right. Quantrill recovered to get the next two to leave a pair in scoring position.
The Indians added one final run in the eighth off of Mike Mayers. H. Ramirez, who had hit the ball hard all over the yard, added one more piece of hard contact, homering to center with one out in the inning. Mayers got the next two.
After a perfect inning of relief by Nick Wittgren, the Indians stepped in down to their final three outs against Raisel Iglesias. He was sharp, freezing Yu Chang looking before striking out Hernandez and Jake Bauers looking to end it with his seventh save of the year.
The Angels improved to 18-22 on the season, while the Indians dropped to 21-18 with his fourth straight loss.
Hentges retired just five of the 13 batters that he faced in an inning and two-thirds. He was charged with six runs on five hits, walking three and striking out one on 54 pitches. He had numerous deep counts in his short start and pitched from behind to eight of the 13 men that he faced. The bullpen struck out nine in six and one-third innings, allowing a run on five hits with one walk.
Sandoval gave the Angels a nice start out of the bullpen, allowing just two runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts in four-plus innings of work. Watson earned the win with a perfect fifth inning, striking out all three men that he faced to move to 2-1 on the season.
Hernandez and H. Ramirez each had a pair of hits on the day for the Indians, although Hernandez struck out in all three of his other plate appearances on the night. Reyes’ home run was his tenth of the year.
Trout was expected to undergo an MRI on his calf injury and manager Joe Maddon shared after the game that the team was hoping to have further information on his status moving forward on Tuesday. Rendon had three hits, Walsh added a pair, and Ohtani hit his MLB-leading 13th bomb of the year.
Game two of three from the Big A is scheduled for a 9:38 PM ET start on Tuesday night. Left-hander Andrew Heaney (1-3, 4.75 ERA) will be the first to the bump for the Halos, while Zach Plesac (3-3, 3.56 ERA) will counter for Cleveland, looking to pick up where he left off his last time out after taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning in his outing against Seattle.
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