Belt has 21-pitch at-bat, later homers as Giants beat Angels

Belt has 21-pitch at-bat, later homers as Giants beat Angels

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Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout watches his two-run home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, April 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Brandon Belt hung in for an epic 21-pitch at-bat before flying out, but later homered to lead Johnny Cueto and the San Francisco Giants over the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 on Sunday.

Belt fouled off 11 straight pitches from rookie right-hander Jaime Barria in the first inning in the majors’ longest at-bat since records began in 1988. The previous high of 20 pitches in a plate appearance since 1988 was when Houston’s Ricky Gutierrez struck out against Cleveland’s Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, according to Retrosheet.

In all, the left-handed Belt peppered the crowd with 16 foul balls his first time up. He hit two long fouls down the right-field line before lining out to right fielder Kole Calhoun, ending an at-bat the Giants said lasted 12 minutes, 45 seconds.

It took nine pitches for Belt to work the count full, as he fouled off five pitches in the process. He swung and missed just once, and was greeted with high-fives when he returned to the dugout.

Angels pitching coach Charles Nagy made a mound visit to check on Barria (1-1) after Belt batted. Barria had thrown nine pitches to Joe Panik, who hit a leadoff single, before throwing 21 to Belt.

Belt singled and scored in the third and launched a leadoff homer to right against Blake Parker in the fifth. Belt saw a total of 38 pitches in his first three at-bats, then hit the first pitch his last two times up.

Cueto (2-0) allowed only two hits in six shutout innings against cleanup batter Shohei Ohtani and the Angels. Cueto took a no-hitter into the sixth and struck out seven.

Cueto twice fanned the lefty-hitting Ohtani by getting the Japanese two-way sensation to flail at change-ups. Cueto also struck out Mike Trout twice.

The Giants right-hander walked two, hit two batters and lowered his ERA in four starts to 0.35.

The Angels were scoreless until Trout hit a two-run homer in the eighth, his big league-leading ninth and his third in as many games. The opposite-field shot to right-center came off Cory Gearrin.

Los Angeles had runners on the corners with two outs in the ninth before Hunter Strickland got Ian Kinsler to fly out to center for his third save in five chances.

Kinsler led off the sixth with a single for the Angels’ first hit. Ohtani singled with one out to load the bases, but Cueto got Luis Valbuena to ground into a 3-6-1 double play. Cueto excitedly pumped his right fist after taking the throw from shortstop Brandon Crawford.

Ohtani batted cleanup for the first time because Albert Pujols got his first day off this season. He finished 1 for 4.

Panik also had three hits apiece for the Giants, who took two of three for their first series win of the season.

Barria threw 49 pitches in the first inning. He loaded the bases on three singles with one out before retiring Evan Longoria and Pablo Sandoval.

Barria loaded the bases with no outs in the third before making way for Noe Ramirez. Joe Panik scored on Buster Posey’s double-play ball and Evan Longoria followed with a two-run homer, his fourth.

Barria allowed two runs and six hits, struck out one and walked one. He got only six outs on 77 pitches.

OHTANI WATCH

The 23-year-old threw a bullpen session some 90 minutes before first pitch and is scheduled to make his next start Tuesday at Houston. A blister on his right middle finger forced him out of his start after just two innings Tuesday night against Boston.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: SS Andrelton Simmons suffered a bruised right forearm when he was hit by a pitch by Cueto in the second. He was replaced in the top of the third by Jefrey Marte.

UP NEXT

Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (1-1, 2.22) is scheduled to start Monday night in the opener of a home three-game series with Washington, which counters with LHP Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 2.49).

Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs (2-1, 3.98) looks to go 3-0 on the road this season when he opens series at Houston versus UCLA product Gerrit Cole (2-0, 0.96) .

Ohtani throws bullpen before batting cleanup for 1st time

Ohtani throws bullpen before batting cleanup for 1st time

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Japanese two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani threw a bullpen session Sunday about 90 minutes before he was to bat cleanup for the first time for the Los Angeles Angels.

Ohtani, who bats left-handed and throws right, was moved into the fourth spot in the order because Albert Pujols got his first day off this season.

Ohtani was to go ”full gorilla,” as manager Mike Scioscia calls a full-on bullpen session, as opposed to the ”touch and feel” session he threw on Friday before going 2 for 4 as the designated hitter in an 8-1 loss to the Giants.

A blister on his right middle finger forced Ohtani out after just two innings of his pitching start against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night. Scioscia was to announce after Sunday’s game when Ohtani’s next start will be. The Angels open a series at Houston on Monday.

On the mound, Ohtani is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA with 19 strikeouts and four walks.

He’s hitting.342 with three homers and 11 RBIs, with 10 strikeouts and three walks. The Angels were set to face right-hander Johnny Cueto (1-0, 0.45).

”Shohei’s looking very comfortable in the batter’s box,” Scioscia said. ”I think he’s getting more acclimated to major league pitching, although obviously every time he goes into a game, chances are he hasn’t seen a pitcher, hasn’t seen a bullpen, hasn’t seen a lot of reactional pitches. In a perfect world you’d like him to experience all that as much as you can. But right now a lot of our guys have been playing a lot and we need to rotate some things and this afternoon makes sense.”

Ohtani didn’t play in Saturday night’s 4-3 victory that snapped a four-game losing streak.

So far he’s batted twice in the No. 6 spot, once at No. 7 and six times in the eighth spot.

”I don’t know if we had any expectations one way or another,” Scioscia said about batting Ohtani cleanup so early in the season. ”You never know if a guy’s going to be comfortable, you never know when your lineup’s going to call for some adjustments on a given day, and today it seems the best way to line ’em up.”

Pujols hit a two-run home run Saturday night for his 2,992nd career hit.

Follow Bernie Wilson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/berniewilson

Shohei Ohtani Scheduled to Start Tuesday for Angels vs. Astros in Houston

Shohei Ohtani Scheduled to Start Tuesday for Angels vs. Astros in Houston

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, of Japan, warms up during batting practice before a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, April 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Chris Carlson/Associated Press

Shohei Ohtani will make his fourth pitching start of the season for the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday against the Houston Astros, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.

Ohtani has lived up to the hype in his MLB rookie season, going 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 19 strikeouts in 15 innings. He’s also been solid at the plate, hitting .342 with three homers, 11 RBI and five runs in just 10 games as a designated hitter.

Ohtani was forced to leave his last start early due to a blister on his right hand. And managing Ohtani, the rare player who is both a starting pitcher and occasional fixture in the lineup, has brought its share of challenges, though the Angels are learning on the fly.

“We will certainly use all the information that we gather from him playing and pitching and hitting, and we can always make adjustments,” manager Mike Scioscia said on Saturday of Ohtani’s evolving routine, per ESPN.com. “I’d be surprised if there weren’t any adjustments. I think it’s a real good template that has a lot of historical data from what he did in Japan that’s applied to it. And I think we’re going to adjust however we have to. We’ll be flexible.”

Angels face Cueto in rubber game vs. Giants

Angels face Cueto in rubber game vs. Giants

The Los Angeles Angels will try to win a series for the sixth time this season when they host the San Francisco Giants at Angel Stadium on Sunday.

The Angels (14-7) won the middle game of the three-game series 4-3 on Saturday night, ending a four-game losing streak in which they were outscored 35-4.

After giving up 14 home runs in the previous four games, the Angels scored all their runs off home runs on Saturday, getting solo shots from Jefry Marte and Mike Trout and a two-run blast from Albert Pujols that broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning.

“We don’t try to change our approach,” Pujols told Fox Sports West after the win

Pujols is eight hits shy of 3,000 after he hit his fourth homer of the season and 618th of his career.

The Giants (8-12) will be looking for their first series win of the season.

They were forced to scratch five-time NL All Star Buster Posey shortly before Saturday’s game because of back tightness though manager Bruce Bochy said he expects Posey to catch Sunday.

Pablo Sandoval filled in for Posey at designated hitter and delivered an RBI double with two outs in the eighth inning to pull the Giants within 4-3.

San Francisco right-hander Johnny Cueto (1-0, 0.45) is set to make his first career appearance at Angel Stadium in his 11-year major league career.

Cueto has been especially strong so far this season, allowing one earned run in 20 innings. His only win occurred in a 10-1 victory against the Seattle Mariners on April 4.

Cueto pitched seven scoreless innings in each of his other two starts, a 1-0 win at the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 30, and a 1-0 loss at the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday but did not receive a decision in either game. He struck out 11 in his latest outing, but was out-dueled by left-hander Patrick Corbin, who threw a one-hitter.

“If we get ballgames out of Johnny like we did (Tuesday) night, he’s going to win us a lot of baseball games,” San Francisco first baseman Brandon Belt said.

Cueto has made two starts against the Angels in his career. He’s 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA. He beat the visiting Angels as a member of the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 15, 2015, allowing one run and eight hits in eight innings of a 9-4 win. Pujols homered off Cueto in the game and is 8-for-32 (.250) off him.

Cueto also started against Los Angeles on April 1, 2013, as a member of the Cincinnati Reds in the first interleague season opener in major league history. He allowed one run in seven innings but did not receive a decision in a 13-inning game won by Los Angeles, 3-1.

Angels left fielder Justin Upton is 6-for-20 with two home runs in his career against Cueto.

Angels starter Jaime Barria (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will also make his first appearance at Angel Stadium in the second start of his major league career.

He made his debut April 11 at the Texas Rangers and allowed one run and one hit, a home run by No. 9 hitter Ryan Rua, in five innings of a 7-2 win.

Barria was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake City after the win, and the 21-year-old Panamanian right-hander was recalled on Friday.

“I think Jaime pitched well his last start,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia told MLB.com on Friday. “He’s probably throwing the ball most consistently down there of the starters.”

Giants fall short in Anaheim thanks to big Angels bats

Giants fall short in Anaheim thanks to big Angels bats

ANAHEIM — Albert Pujols drove a go-ahead, two-run home run into the seats in right-center for career hit No. 2,992, and Mike Trout and Jefry Marte also went deep for the Los Angeles Angels, who beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3 Saturday night to snap an ugly four-game losing streak.

Pujols, 38, hit a no-doubt, opposite-field shot to right-center on an 0-1 pitch from lefty Derek Holland with one out in the sixth. He needs eight hits to become the 32nd member of the 3,000-hit club. He went 1 for 4 as the designated hitter.

Pujols came up with runners on the corners and one out in the eighth and grounded into a double play.

Garrett Richards (3-0) struck out 11 in six innings and held San Francisco to two runs and five hits, with one walk.

The righty helped stop an embarrassing four-game pummeling. The Angels lost 8-1 to the Giants on Friday night after being outscored 27-3 in a three-game sweep by the Boston Red Sox.

Keynan Middleton got a four-out save, his fifth in as many chances.

All three Angels home runs were off Holland (0-3).

Trout homered into the rocks beyond the fence in center field an inning after nearly robbing Brandon Belt of a two-run homer. Trout’s eighth homer, on an 0-1 pitch, tied the game at 2.

In the second, Trout leaped and had Belt’s fly ball in his glove for a moment before it popped out when he hit the wall and it went over the yellow line. Pablo Sandovalwas on second base after a strikeout-wild pitch followed by another wild pitch by Richards. It was Belt’s fourth homer.

Marte homered with two outs in the second, his first.

San Francisco closed to 4-3 on Sandoval’s RBI double with two outs in the eighth. After Belt was intentionally walked, Middleton came on and struck out Evan Longoria. Middleton allowed Mac Williamson‘s leadoff single in the ninth before retiring the side.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Giants: DH Buster Posey was a late scratch due to back tightness.

Angels: RHP Shoehei Ohtani is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday, and the Angels should know if he’s definitely good to make his next start after a blister on his right middle finger forced him out after just two innings against Boston on Tuesday night.

UP NEXT

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto (1-0, 0.45) is scheduled to start the series finale. Angel Stadium is the last current ballpark he hasn’t pitched in. He’s 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA in two starts against the Angels.

Angels: RHP Jaime Barria (1-0, 0.45) will be recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to make his second start. He won his big league debut at Texas on April 11.

Richards, Trout lead Angels past Giants

Richards, Trout lead Angels past Giants

Garrett Richards struck out 11 over six innings, Mike Trout homered and the Los Angeles Angels ended a four-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.

Richards improved to 3-0 after holding the Giants to two runs on five hits and one walk. His 11 strikeouts were a season high, but he needed help from the Angels bullpen.

Four Angels relievers combined to pitch the final three innings, with Keynan Middleton getting a key out in the eighth inning before pitching the ninth for his fifth save.

Brandon Belt hit a two-run homer and Evan Longoria had two hits for San Francisco. Albert Pujols homered for Los Angeles, his two-run homer in the sixth off Giants starter Derek Holland providing the margin for victory.

The Angels, though, had to rally in this one.

Pablo Sandoval struck out to begin the second inning for the Giants but reached when the ball got past catcher Rene Rivera on a wild pitch by Richards. Sandoval went to second on another wild pitch, then scored on Belt’s two-run homer, his fourth of the season.

The Angels got one run back in the bottom of the second on a home run by Jefry Marte, his first of the season. Trout’s solo homer in the third, his American League-leading eighth of the year, tied the game at 2-2.

Trout added two doubles in a 3-for-4 effort.

The game remained tied until the bottom of the sixth when Holland walked Justin Upton before yielding a two-run home run to Pujols, the 618th homer of his career and hit No. 2,992, as the Angels went up 4-2.

Holland (0-3) was able to finish the sixth inning, having given up four runs on five hits and one walk, striking out six and throwing 100 pitches.

The Giants got within 4-3 in the eighth inning, pushing across a run after two were out. Andrew McCutchen walked, then scored on a double by Sandoval. But with the potential tying run on second base, Middleton entered the game and struck out Longoria to end the inning.

Buster Posey was a late scratch from San Francisco’s lineup because of a stiff back. Posey, who was initially in the order as the designated hitter, was replaced by Sandoval.

–Field Level Media