ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Although the Los Angeles Angels probably will miss the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year, their offense is finally performing up to its pedigree and looking like one of the AL’s best.
Manager Joe Maddon hopes that’s good news for a brighter future amid the Angels’ fairly dismal present.
Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer and Mike Trout drove in two runs in the Angels’ 7-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sept. 17.
David Fletcher and Taylor Ward had three hits apiece for the Angels, who jumped to a 6-0 lead in the third inning and pounded out 14 hits on the way to their ninth win in 14 games. Jared Walsh also extended his Angels franchise record by scoring a run and driving in a run in his ninth consecutive game.
The Angels have spent generously on high-priced veteran hitters for several years with varying results, but only Rendon and Trout are providing major returns on those two investments so far. The Halos are also finally getting impressive results from homegrown youngsters like Fletcher and Walsh after the Halos had a barren farm system for several years.
It all adds up to a 13th-place team that was third in the AL with 254 runs scored after this victory. The Angels also were third in the league in on-base percentage (.334) and fourth in hits (423), homers (73) and OPS (.764).
“We have good players, it begins with that,” Maddon said. “It’s a combination of really good talent that’s willing to work, and they’re being supported by an outstanding coaching staff. These guys, they’re going to keep getting better. Up and down the lineup, we’re getting quality at-bats.”
The Angels’ run production greatly benefited Griffin Canning (1-3), who finally got a win in his 10th start of the season. The UCLA product threw five innings of six-hit ball with seven strikeouts, and he persevered after Andrelton Simmons committed two errors on the same play while failing to end the fifth inning.
Christian Walker had two hits and drove in a run for the Diamondbacks, who won the series by scoring a combined 18 runs while winning the first two games.
“When I look at the entire three-day series, I’ve got to be pleased with the improvements that I’m watching take place,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “We had some quality at-bats that continued today. I just think that overall through the course of this game, we just couldn’t get that big hit at the right time, the right situation.”
Alex Young (2-4) yielded six runs on eight Los Angeles hits while failing to get out of the third inning.
“I just felt like there were a lot of bad-luck blooper hits that just kind of fell in,” Young said.
The Angels jumped ahead 3-0 in the first inning on Trout’s sacrifice fly and Rendon’s ninth homer of the season. Walsh had a sacrifice fly and Trout added an RBI single in the second.
Nick Ahmed drove in Arizona’s first run with an RBI double in the fourth.
Calhoun went 1 for 3 with a walk, making him 6 for 13 with three homers and seven RBIs in his three-game return to Angel Stadium, where he patrolled right field for his first eight major league seasons before moving on to his hometown team last winter.
Simmons, the Angels’ four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop, committed two errors on the same play in the fifth inning, dropping Josh VanMeter’s soft two-out popup in the sun and then throwing wildly past first base.
Canning then gave up Walker’s RBI single and Kole Calhoun’s ground rule double, but finally got Eduardo Escobar on a fly to end the fifth.
“Nobody is perfect,” Canning said. “I just wish I could have picked him up a little bit sooner and not let that run get across the plate.”
Simmons atoned with an RBI single in the eighth. Every Angels starter got a hit except Justin Upton.
Walsh failed to homer for only the second time in his last eight games but still extended his hitting streak to nine games. The 27-year-old rookie first baseman also extended his franchise record for consecutive games with a run scored and an RBI, one night after breaking the mark previously held by Wally Joyner (1987) and Fred Lynn (1984).
Walsh is the first AL player with an RBI and a run scored in nine straight games since David Ortiz did it for Minnesota in 2002. According to the Angels, Walsh’s streak in that achievement is the longest in major league history by a rookie since the RBI became an official statistic in 1920.
Angels DH Shohei Ohtani wasn’t in the lineup for the fifth consecutive day. Maddon is giving the slumping slugger some time to “regroup,” he said. Ohtani also struggles against left-handers, hitting .154 with no homers this season, which means he probably won’t be back in the starting lineup until Saturday against Texas. Ohtani is batting .189 with five homers and 20 RBIs in 37 games overall this season.
Diamondbacks: Zac Gallen (1-2, 3.15 ERA) takes the mound in Houston for the start of a weekend series against Zack Greinke and the Astros.
Angels: Jaime Barria (0-0, 3.38 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season in the opener of the Halos’ final home series of the season against Wes Benjamin and the Texas Rangers.