‘We keep coming at you’: Ohtani, Ward power 3rd straight win

‘We keep coming at you’: Ohtani, Ward power 3rd straight win

6:00 AM UTC

News flash No. 2: The Angels, tired of not playing in any postseason games since they’ve had Trout and Ohtani on the same team, made a concerted effort over the winter to improve the offense and defense around those two Major League luminaries while also beefing up their bullpen.

It might not have been the biggest blockbuster of an offseason for the Halos, but four games into 2023, it’s working.

And on Monday night in T-Mobile Park, in a 7-3 win over a Mariners team that finished ahead of them last year to seize an American League Wild Card spot, the Angels showed once again that they have a more competitive roster from top to bottom.

They have won three consecutive games on the road, and new offensive additions Brandon Drury, Hunter Renfroe and Jake Lamb were in the thick of much of Monday’s run-scoring action. All three had hits, with Lamb doubling and singling and scoring twice and Drury singling in his first two at-bats and doubling in a run in the ninth.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that Ohtani accounted for the deciding runs with a 431-foot, 110 mph two-run home run in the top of the fifth or that sizzling Taylor Ward hit a two-run homer of his own in the eighth for insurance.

“We keep coming at you,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “Some pretty good swings, a lot of good quality at-bats, and [11] hits again today. It’s not going to happen every night. We’re going to have to pitch.”

Starter Reid Detmers, whom the Angels hope will be an emerging ace after a promising rookie year in 2022, was a bit uneven, only lasting 4 2/3 innings and giving up three runs (two earned) on four hits while striking out seven. But he rebounded from a 27-pitch first inning to get close to qualifying for a win in his 2023 debut.

“The first was definitely a grind,” Detmers said. “I felt like I was fighting my mechanics. But it was just the first-game jitters, so I’m not too worried about it.”

Nevin wasn’t either, saying he liked what Detmers showed Monday. And the Angels liked the rest of the offensive onslaught, too.

Trout didn’t light up the stat sheet the way he often does, but he still reached base in all five of his plate appearances. He singled in the first, was hit by a pitch by Seattle starter George Kirby in the third, and walked three times after that. He scored on Ohtani’s tie-breaking blast to right center, which came on an 86 mph changeup from Kirby.

Super-utility man Luis Rengifo, starting at shortstop with Anthony Rendon serving the first game of a four-game suspension and Gio Urshela moving over to third, continued the assault on Mariners pitching that he started last year, when he slashed .301/.329/.658 with seven homers and 12 RBIs against them. Rengifo hit RBI singles in his first two at-bats and then worked a one-out walk in the top of the eighth, scoring on Ward’s two-out shot over the center-field wall.

New lefty reliever Matt Moore entered the game in the sixth inning after the Mariners had cut the Angels’ lead to 4-3 on an Eugenio Suárez RBI single and pitched a perfect inning with a strikeout. Angels relievers Jimmy Herget, José Quijada and new addition Carlos Estévez combined to shut out Seattle over the last three innings.

In all, it was just the way the Angels drew it up when they entered camp with fresh faces and renewed pennant hopes.

“Obviously the top of the lineup is as good as it gets,” Drury said. “But I feel like it’s really been all that way 1 through 9. I think the depth of our lineup is really, really good.

“So I think this can be a pretty fun season.”

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