Nationals vs Angels – Game Recap – May 6, 2022
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Mike Trout is in his second decade of hitting and catalyzing the Los Angeles Angels offense. For most of that first decade, his teammates on the mound weren’t always good enough to turn enough of Trout’s big hits into wins.
Those angels might be different: When Trout hit his last hit in the fifth inning Friday night, five pitchers comfortably lifted him up once more.
Trout had a two-run brace and Jhonathan Díaz pitched five flawless innings in his first start of the season, leading the surging Angels to a 3-0 win over the Washington Nationals.
After Díaz impressed his teammates by winning a key showdown with Juan Soto, the bullpen coolly ended the Angels’ fifth shutout of the year and second in a row – the first straight shutouts for the normally pitch-poor Halos since July 2016 Raisel Iglesias threw a perfect ninth on six pitches for his seventh save.
Trout liked to see it all.
“You can’t ask for much more than that (from Díaz),” Trout said. “You just can’t. He took the opportunity and showed us what he had. … It was great. The whole pitching team was great. It was fun to play behind in center field, and we also had quick games, so that’s always a plus.
Shohei Ohtani also drove a run for the Angels in their third straight win and 10th in 13 games, including six in a row at Angel Stadium. Leaders AL West opened a six-game homestand by moving eight games above .500 for the first time since June 2018.
Anthony Rendon went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and embarked on a late-inning double play with the bases loaded in his first game against the Nationals since leaving to sign a contract. $245 million free agent over seven years with the Angels in December. 2019.
The Nationals had four hits while going blank for the second time. They have lost three in a row and 12 of 15 as they enter the final series of their nine-game road trip.
Díaz (1-0) gave up three hits and four walks, striking out four while taking the rotation spot from struggling Jose Suarez, who was sent to Triple-A Salt Lake.
“We hunted the area a lot,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “His breaking ball is really, really good, and we chased it.”
Díaz, who made his major league debut last September, mostly stayed out of trouble after giving up a brace on his first pitch. The Venezuelan southpaw even caused Soto to slam his bat to the ground in frustration after hitting a nasty slider in the fifth.
“He was very good, very calm,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Díaz. “He’s a bit sharper this (season). There is a possibility that he will get another chance (in the rotation).”
Joan Adon (1-5) struck out six in five innings of three hits and three runs for the Nats.
“He kicked the ball well except for the (five) steps,” Martinez said. “It’s tough training. I said to him, ‘(When) you have a hit, you’re mean.'”
Los Angeles led first after Taylor Ward walked and scored on Ohtani’s field for the AL MVP’s 14th RBI of the season.
The Angels loaded the bases in the fifth for Trout, who smashed a 108 mph line at the base of the center field wall.
“You have a future Hall of Famer, you go up 0-2, then the ball leaks onto the plate,” Martinez said.
THE RENDON MEETING
Rendon was the sixth overall pick in Washington’s 2011 draft, and he had seven increasingly impressive seasons that culminated in his only All-Star selection in 2019, when he led the RBI Majors and powered the Nationals to their first World Series title.
Like most expensive buys from Angels owner Arte Moreno, Rendon is nowhere near matching his previous form after joining the Halos. But the Houston native shows flashes of elite talent at home plate while remaining a superb defender at third base.
Nationals: DH Nelson Cruz went 1 of 4 after missing the previous two games with a stiff back.
Angels: Utility Jose Rojas was sent in to make room for Díaz.
Michael Lorenzen (3-1, 3.04 ERA) is looking to extend an impressive start to his first season with the Angels and his first major league season as a starter. He faces former Dodgers prospect Josiah Gray (3-2, 3.12 ERA), who went six scoreless innings from one hit in San Francisco last weekend.