Shohei Ohtani grand slam and a triple play can’t save Angels from loss to Rays

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Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani reacts after swinging.

Angel star Shohei Ohtani reacts after striking out in the fifth inning of a 9-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in 10 innings Friday at Angel Stadium. (Ryan Sun / Associated Press)

Shohei Ohtani hit a grand slam for his 43rd home run of the season and the Angels turned their first triple play since 1997, but fell apart in the 10th inning of a 9-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Angel Stadium on Friday night.

Ohtani gave the Angels a 5-1 lead in the second inning with his second career slam, his first since hitting one against the Rays in May 2022. He finished two for five.

First baseman Nolan Schanuel got his first hit and scored two runs in his major-league debut, just 40 days after being selected by the Angels in the first round of the draft — the fastest promotion in four decades.

Read more: Angels call up Nolan Schanuel, their 2023 first-round pick, after 21 games in minors

“That was a nice first day for him,” manager Phil Nevin said, highlighting Schanuel’s field awareness and instincts. “His at bats were great. [He] came in after his first one and I kind of just said, ‘It’s a little bit of an out-of-body experience, isn’t it?’

“And he said, ‘I kept looking down to make sure I was in the batter’s box.'”

The situation got more surreal for Schanuel when he walked and scored on Ohtani’s grand slam. He blushed recounting his first major league run.

“That was amazing. Just be able to see a ball hit like that off Shohei’s bat was insane,” Schanuel said. “And watching it over my head into the stands was even better.”

Angels left-hander Tyler Anderson (5-5) gave up five runs and six hits while walking two and striking out three over four innings. The Rays scored three runs in the fourth inning on a two-run double by Josh Lowe and a single by Rene Pinto.

Anderson was frustrated by his performance, saying his command was off.

José Soriano fared well in relief, giving up one hit and striking out one over an inning, and Dominic Leone pitched a scoreless sixth.

In the seventh, Harold Ramirez hit an RBI single off Reynaldo López to give the Rays a 6-5 lead. Schanuel tied the game 6-6 in the bottom of the frame when he singled on a line drive to left field, stole second and scored on a double by Brandon Drury.

Matt Moore pitched another scoreless inning before Carlos Estévez took the mound. Luis Rengifo, Drury, Schanuel and O’Hoppe put together the 6-4-3-2 triple play, the seventh in Angels history, to send the game to the bottom of the ninth.

“Drury made a good play,” Schanuel said. “Right when he threw it to me, [Yandy Diaz] took off. And I just saw it out of the peripheral, turned over, and made a good throw. And O’Hoppe saved me on that one by putting the good tag.”

Nevin called it “a great instinctual play by Nolan to get that one, to get him back out at home.”

Missed hitting opportunities in the ninth — Rengifo drew a leadoff walk, Randal Grichuk grounded out, Ohtani struck out and Drury grounded out — sent the game into the 10th. Estévez then gave up a pair of RBI singles and Aaron Loup gave up one too.

“[Estévez] was my best chance in the 10th inning,” Nevin said. “Low pitch count and it ends up getting higher than I wanted. I really didn’t want to get past 40. But knowing where their hitters were and where we’re out with Lowe there, just felt like I needed to leave him in after getting a big strikeout before that.”

Estévez said his body and arm feel fine, but he plans to check his technique. “Fastballs, slider, everything,” he said. “Just gotta get more on a line with it, not too spread out.”

Catcher Logan O’Hoppe returned after missing 103 games because of a labrum tear in his left shoulder. He hadn’t caught a full nine innings during his rehab but played the entire game while going 0 for 5.

The Angels (60-63) matched a season worst by falling three games below .500. They are 12½ games behind American League West leader Texas and 7½ games back from the final AL wild-card spot.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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