ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Graham Ashcraft racked up a career-high 10 strikeouts over seven innings, and the Cincinnati Reds spoiled Mike Trout's return to the Angels' lineup by scoring three unearned runs in the fifth inning of a 4-3 victory over Los Angeles on Tuesday night.
Elly De La Cruz scored the tiebreaking run from first on Spencer Steer’s double just moments after Angels rookie first baseman Nolan Schanuel made a two-run error on what should have been an inning-ending grounder by De La Cruz.
Orange County native Matt McLain hit his 14th homer of the season for the Reds in the opener of a 10-game West Coast trip. Alexis Díaz pitched the ninth for his 34th save in 35 chances.
Cincinnati tied it when Schanuel, who was drafted July 9, botched that easy two-out ground ball.
“He feels awful for what happened," Angels manager Phil Nevin said about Schanuel. "We're not putting this on him. We had chances to score.”
Both managers thought De La Cruz's vaunted speed on the bases likely affected Schanuel's poise in going to the ball.
“I can't say enough about our baserunning,” Reds skipper David Bell said. “It puts pressure on defenders. When you can do (what De La Cruz does), it makes you rush a little bit.”
De La Cruz then motored home with remarkable ease on a soft double by Steer, a Long Beach native who grew up rooting for the Halos.
“Pretty cool moment,” Steer said. “First time playing here. Grew up going to this stadium (as an) Angels fan. I’m lucky that Elly was running the bases right there, because I don’t think many people score on that ball.”
Ashcraft (7-8) finished his first victory of August by allowing five hits, although three were solo homers.
Trout went 1 for 4 with an infield single in his first game back from a seven-week injury absence for the Angels. Trout missed 38 games after surgery on a broken bone in his hand, but the three-time AL MVP is pushing through pain in an attempt to breathe life into the Halos' flagging playoff hopes.
Shohei Ohtani went 0 for 3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
Brandon Drury and Mike Moustakas hit back-to-back homers in the second inning for the Angels (61-65), who returned from back-to-back days off created by Tropical Storm Hilary with their 14th loss in 19 games. Logan O’Hoppe also hit his first homer since April, but the Halos' playoff hopes are mathematically minimal.
Lucas Giolito (7-10) yielded five hits and struck out nine over six innings for the Angels, but the Halos’ biggest addition near the trade deadline fell to 1-4 in five starts for his new team despite allowing just one earned run in a gritty performance.
“I liked how I threw the ball,” Giolito said. “If I could take one pitch back, it would be the slider (to Steer) to let the go-ahead run go through. I take pride in being able to pick my teammates up, and I didn't do it. There were a lot of things I could have done to avoid that situation altogether.”
LET'S PLAY TWO
Tuesday’s game became the series opener after Monday’s game was postponed due to the aftereffects of the storm, which left the Angel Stadium field too wet to play. The teams will play a doubleheader Wednesday.
De La Cruz walked and stole second in the first inning, giving him 10 homers and 20 steals in 64 career games. That’s faster than anybody in MLB history, beating Barry Bonds’ 65 games to those marks.
Reds: LHP Nick Lodolo will get a second opinion after having a setback in his recovery from a stress injury in his left tibia during his final rehab start for Triple-A Louisville. Lodolo, who grew up 20 miles north of Angel Stadium in La Verne, hasn't pitched for Cincinnati since May 6.
Angels: Anthony Rendon still hasn't progressed to on-field work in his recovery from a deep bone bruise in his leg. The $245 million third baseman has been sidelined since July 4 with his third significant injury of the season.
Ohtani (10-5, 3.17 ERA) takes his scheduled turn in the rotation for the first game of the doubleheader, facing the Reds' Andrew Abbott (8-3, 2.99). Reid Detmers (3-9, 4.93) pitches for Los Angeles in the nightcap. Cincinnati hasn't announced a starter for the second game.
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