After losing a crucial series to the Houston Astros at home to begin the second half, the Los Angeles Angels had to find a way to bounce back against the New York Yankees in order to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Griffin Canning did whatever it took to try and help the Angels win last night's game. He threw an absurd 120 pitches, the most in the league this season, and gutted his way through 5.2 innings of work. He set a career high with 12 strikeouts and looked dominant all night.
Unfortunately, Phil Nevin left him in a bit too long and after Canning departed with the bases loaded, Jimmy Herget immediately served up a two-run double to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. Despite their rocky play, as the Angels have continued to show us, they weren't going to give up. Shohei Ohtani led the way in that regard.
LA Angels earn crucial win vs. Yankees to keep slim hopes alive
The Angels got a run back on a Matt Thaiss home run, but then Gerardo Reyes instantly gave that run right back in the top of the seventh.
With all of the injuries the Angels have, it's feasible to expect opponents to pitch around Shohei Ohtani. Yes, I get how awesome Mickey Moniak has played and he's hitting behind him now, but who would you want to face between the two? The Yankees did walk Ohtani intentionally earlier in the game, but elected to face him in the bottom of the seventh with Eduardo Escobar on first with two outs. Mistake.
Ohtani launched a game-tying two-run shot, with an unbelievable bat flip to top it off. Ohtani got a 1-2 fastball on the outside corner, went with the pitch, and absolutely crushed it beyond the reach of Harrison Bader in center field to set the large crowd into a frenzy.
The home run was Ohtani's 35th of the year which leads all of baseball, as he's still very much in the Triple Crown race in the AL.
Shohei tied it, and the bullpen did its job to keep it tied despite Carlos Estevez being unavailable. Matt Moore got out of a jam, Aaron Loup stranded the ghost runner in the tenth, and the Angels found a way to walk it off. Michael Stefanic was the hero, and the Angels are back within a game of .500.
Eventually, the Angels need to find a way to use one of these morale-boosting wins and win a string of games in a row. It's their second walk-off win of this homestand. The first one was followed by a depressing loss. How will they respond tonight?