ARLINGTON, Texas — The ball that José Quijada threw right down the middle to Corey Seager, a ball that ended up over the fence for a tie-breaking homer, wasn’t what frustrated manager Phil Nevin so much after the Angels’ 5-3 loss to the Texas Rangers on Thursday.
It was the walk that preceded it.
Quijada walked Marcus Semien to lead off the eighth in a tie game, just before Quijada grooved a fastball that Seager blasted into the Angels’ bullpen. It was just the sixth hit that Quijada had allowed to a lefty all season. They had been 5 for 45 against him.
“The home run’s not really what beat us,” Nevin said. “We walked three leadoff hitters today and all three of them scored. We’ve got to get better at that. That’s the difference in the game today.”
Starter Michael Lorenzen issued two walks in five-plus innings, but one was leading off the third and one was leading off the sixth. They were two of the three runs that he allowed.
Those lapses spoiled a day that started pretty well as the Angels looked to win the rubber game of the series. They had a 3-0 lead in the third. Michael Stefanic and Luis Rengifo had singled and Mike Trout drove in both with a double. Taylor Ward followed with an RBI single.
Lorenzen was dominating through five innings. Lorenzen had given up just one run and one hit, facing just two hitters over the minimum. He’d struck out seven.
But he issued a leadoff walk to No. 9 hitter Leody Tavares in the sixth, and then he gave up a single to Semien, ending his day.
Left-hander Aaron Loup entered to face Seager. He got Seager to ground into a force, but then Nathaniel Lowe punched a ball through the left side to drive in a run. Adolis Garcia then dropped a bloop single into right, tying the game.
Left fielder Jo Adell saved the Angels from further damage with a strong throw to nail Lowe at the plate after a single by Jonah Heim.
It was the latest demonstration of Adell’s defensive improvement.
“I’m happy with what he’s done out there,” Nevin said. “He continues to work. We’re a week and a half away from the end of the season. He’s still putting in the work that needs to be done to be better out there. And I’m proud of him for the way he’s gone about that.”
While Adell’s throw saved the inning from being worse, it came too late to spare Lorenzen. After 16 starts, he has a 4.78 ERA, which is not quite what he or the Angels had hoped for when they agreed to a one-year deal last winter.
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He has a 4.01 ERA if you discount the two starts he made with a shoulder issue before going on the injured list in July.
Lorenzen would like to return, so these last starts could be critical in shaping the Angels’ opinion of what he could do next year.
“There’s like some good and some bad,” Lorenzen said of Thursday’s game. “I feel good about it but couldn’t keep the team in it long enough. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth for sure.”