In a season that has turned into a titanic struggle for the Los Angeles Angels, they suffered another pain-ful defeat.
The Halos on Thursday tied a major league record with seven solo home runs, including two by Shohei Ohtani, but still lost to the Oakland Athletics 8-7 in a crazy matinee affair at Angel Stadium.
The Angels are the first team in the majors to hit seven solo homers and score no other runs in a game. They are also the sixth team to hit seven homers and lose, according to STATS.
“I guess they always say solo home runs don’t beat you, but you feel like if you hit seven, you might. It didn’t work out for us,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said.
Los Angeles were 24-13 and tied with Houston for the American League West lead after beating Oakland on May 15. Since then, the Angels have gone 20-48 and are a season-low 17 games under .500 at 44-61.
The tailspin has included a 14-game losing streak, the firing of Joe Maddon on June 7, blowing a four-run, eighth-inning lead at Philadelphia on June 5 and a wild, bench-clearing brawl against the Seattle Mariners on June 26.
Ramon Laureano homered and drove in four runs, while Seth Brown had a two-run shot during a six-run third inning for American League-worst Oakland. Sean Murphy also drove in two runs for the Athletics, who took the final two games of the series and have won six of their past nine.
“Today was a little bit of a different baseball game than I have probably been a part of. It is a very interesting box score,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “I’m happy that our eight held up and we were able to get a win. The goal is to win the game and score more runs. Solo home runs at the end of the day are nice, but they don’t necessarily always help you win games.”
Paul Blackburn (7-6) picked up his first win since June 16, despite surrendering four home runs on six hits.
“It was one of those days where any ball hitting the air seemed like it went out,” said Blackburn, who went five innings and struck out three. “I’ve never seen anything like that, but I’ll take a series win any day.”
Ohtani left Wednesday night’s game due to a left forearm cramp, but he bounced back with three hits and two RBIs. It was his 11th multi-homer game in the majors and the fifth this season.
Mickey Moniak — acquired from Philadelphia on Tuesday as part of the Noah Syndergaard trade — homered to right with one out in the ninth to get the Angels within a run.
Max Stassi drew a walk, but Taylor Ward struck out and A.J. Puk got Ohtani to fly out to short on the first pitch for his third save.
Kurt Suzuki, Taylor Ward, Jo Adell and Jared Walsh also went deep for the Angels, who went 2-5 on their homestand. The seven homers also tied an overall franchise record.
“It’s obviously a positive thing. I would have liked to get the win, but you know, offensively we’ve been needing to pick it up a little bit. So it was a positive sign,” said Ward, referring to the Angels batting .199 as a team last month.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were the last team to hit seven solo home runs on June 24, 2018, against the New York Mets.
Elsewhere, the Astros blanked the Guardians 6-0, the Dodgers downed the Giants 5-3, the Rays tamed the Tigers 6-2, the Rockies routed the Padres 7-3, the Blue Jays thrashed the Twins 9-3, the Mets beat the Braves 6-4, the Royals defeated the Red Sox 7-3 and the Rangers edged the White Sox 3-2.
The Cardinals did the double over the Cubs, 4-3 in Game 1 and 7-2 in Game 2, the Phillies pipped the Nationals 5-4 in 4-1/2 innings in a rain-shortened game and the Pirates edged the Brewers 5-4 in 10 innings.
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