Rodriguez allows seven runs as Angels even series (updated)

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Maybe this was a reverse-lock game. A night after the Orioles moved into first place, they put their 15-7 record and three-game win streak on the line with right-hander Grayson Rodriguez and his 2.63 ERA on the mound. He had not allowed more than two runs in any start this year.

The Angels had scored just nine runs during a five-game losing streak, were 2-5 at home and their pitcher, right-hander Griffin Canning, began his night with an ERA of 8.05.

What could go wrong? O's would have this one, right?

Well, the Angels got a Mike Trout leadoff homer and kept swinging it with loud contact in the early innings off Rodriguez as they beat the Orioles 7-4 at Angel Stadium.

Down 7-0 in the fifth, the O’s pulled within three runs but took the loss. They are now 15-8 for the year and 7-4 on the road, and return Wednesday to the ballpark looking for a series win in the rubber match game.

The Angels tonight moved Trout up to leadoff in their order.

Good call.

Batting first for the first time since the 2020 season, Trout smashed a Rodriguez 1-2 fastball that found the middle of the plate for a homer to the right of center and a 1-0 lead.

It was homer No. 9 this year for Trout, the 377th of his career and his sixth leadoff homer. He doesn’t bat first much and his last leadoff homer was hit at Texas on Sept. 28, 2012.

Rodriguez would give up more loud contact early in this game as he fell behind 3-0 in the Angels second. With one out, Jo Adell ripped a double to left at 110 mph off his bat and he scored on Luis Rengifo’s double. He then scored when No. 9 hitter Zach Neto singled to right to make it 3-0.

Rodriguez was pitching on six days’ rest, seemingly so the Orioles could line him up to start the first of a four-game series with the Yankees at home next Monday night. Whether it hurt him, who knows for sure? But it certainly was the opposite of a sharp night for him.

The Angels kept making strong contact in the home third and opened a 5-0 lead on Rodriguez and the Birds. Logan O’Hoppe mashed an RBI double to left-center at 104 mph off the bat. He would score on Adell’s line single to center for a five-run lead.

Two more runs came across in the Angels fourth for a 7-0 lead on Neto’s RBI double and Nolan Schanuel’s single.

The bottom of the Angels order tonight – hitters No. 6 through No. 9 – went 8-for-14 with five runs and five RBIs.

Rodriguez pitched just 4 1/3 innings, allowing a career-high 11 hits, seven runs (two off his career-worst), one walk and seven strikeouts on 82 pitches.

The O’s lost one of his starts for the first time this season as he is now 3-1 with a 4.45 ERA. This was the most runs he allowed in a regular season game since May 26, 2023 when he got hit for nine versus the Rangers.

O’s starters coming into tonight had thrown three scoreless starts the past five games for an 1.84 ERA in that span.

Canning, who had really struggled in the early innings of his starts this year, blanked the Orioles through four innings tonight, allowing just one hit, Adley Rutschman’s single in the fourth. Rutschman would have three hits tonight and has 11 hits his last 24 at-bats.

The Birds finally broke through against Canning in the fifth – an inning which featured Jackson Holliday’s second career major league hit on a well struck ball to center.

Jordan Westburg led off that inning and singled before Heston Kjerstad lined to left. Holliday then ripped a grounder up the middle at 104.4 mph off the bat, sending Westburg to third. Holliday jumped on a first-pitch curve, snapping an 0-for-18 and making him 2-for-32 for the season. He went 1-for-4 tonight.

Westburg would score on Gunnar Henderson’s sac fly for the O’s first run. Then Ryan O’Hearn ripped a booming two-run double to left center and the O’s had pulled within 7-3. Another well struck ball for O’Hearn, hit 100.6 mph to give now give him eight RBIs.

Henderson blasted a long solo homer in the seventh off lefty reliever Matt Moore. He smoked a 1-2 curveball 414 feet to right with an exit velocity of 109.4. He began tonight second in the majors in average exit velocity.

Once behind by a touchdown, the O’s were down 7-4 with two innings left.

But they could not get any closer as the Orioles fall to 3-2 on the season versus the Angels. The Angels ended their losing streak and the Yankees won earlier, dropping the Birds for now back into second place, a half-game back. 

In his return to the majors tonight, Kjerstad went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a line out to left.

After missing last night's game with left knee soreness, Ryan Mountcastle pinch-hit tonight and singled to raise his average to .333.

To close out this series on Wednesday afternoon, right-hander Dean Kremer (0-2, 4.91 ERA) faces lefty Tyler Anderson (2-2, 1.42 ERA).

After the game, manager Brandon Hyde on Rodriguez's night: “I just don’t think he executed. Just looking back on the replay, lot of balls in the middle of the plate, thigh high. And they made him pay for it.

“Think it’s just an off night for him. He’s had a few good starts here to start the year and tonight, his stuff was fine. Thew some good sliders to (Miguel) Sanó, but had a tough time throwing sliders to anybody else. They were kind of backing up into the middle part of the plate. A poorly executed fastball to Trout to lead off the game. Just didn’t command the pitches for me tonight.”

Rodriguez agreed with his skipper: “Just caught too much plate. Throwing the ball down the middle. Lot of mistakes, they were thigh high. Those guys were ready for it.

“Really just missing with the heater down the middle. Trying to elevate to guys. Obviously Trout there in the first inning, tried to go up with it. Just missed right down the middle and got hurt with it. Left a lot of pitches thigh high."

When they got within three, O'Hearn thought they could pull if off: “I don’t think we are ever out of it. Down by seven early and you know the mentality is just to find a way to pass the bat and creep back in. It’s a long game and you never know and I don’t think we are ever out of any game. We didn’t complete the comeback. It is what it is and we come back tomorrow."

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