It started with a home run and ended with one, too. But there was no happy ending for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Friday night in the opening game of a three-game series at the Big A against the New York Yankees.
Shohei Ohtani got them off on the right foot with a home run – his fourth of the season – in the second inning, but Didi Gregorious had the last word with a round-tripper in the top of the 10th inning as the Yanks edged the Angels 4-3.
The damage wasn’t as bad as it could have been, as the Halos (16-10) didn’t lose any ground in the American League West. They remain a half-game back of the Houston Astros, who also lost, falling 8-1 to a suddenly red-hot Oakland team.
Andrew Heaney and the Yanks’ Luis Severino each had strong starts. Heaney worked five innings giving up five hits and one earned run. He stuck out nine and walked one. Severino went seven, giving up five hits and three runs, striking out eight and walking one.
With the visitors leading 2-1 after six innings, what appeared to be the key hit came when Andrelton Simmons lashed a two-run triple to put the Halos ahead 4-3 in the seventh. But the Yankees pushed across one run in the top of the ninth, setting up Gregorious’ game-winner. It was his 10th home run of the season.
The loss went to Blake Parker (0-1) in relief.
The story could have been much worse if not for the heroics of right-fielder Kole Calhoun, who made two spectacular fielding plays and one that was merely excellent. The most important one came when he reached over the top of the outfield fence to rob the New Yorkers of what would have been a bases-clearing home run.
The series continues on Saturday when Garrett Richards (3-0) will duel Masahiro Tanaka (3-2) in Anaheim.