ANAHEIM — On the opening night of what is being billed as “Country Weekend,” the Angels’ Hunter Renfroe might as well have been swinging an acoustic guitar.
Renfroe’s softly hit dunker into shallow left field in the seventh inning on Friday ended up being sweet music, driving in the go-ahead run in a 5-4 victory the Angels first looked to have in hand before being forced to rally late.
Just when the Angels seemed ready to craft a tale of loss, they picked up the tempo late against the Minnesota Twins to win the opener of a three-game series and nine-game homestand.
Mickey Moniak had three hits, falling a home run shy of the cycle, and Reid Detmers took a no-hitter into the sixth inning as the Angels came out on top without Mike Trout, who was given a day of rest following a 2-4 road trip to Cleveland and Baltimore.
“We’ve had a few of those,” Manager Phil Nevin said of the tight game. “I feel like we play the same game every night. You guys are probably tired of writing the same story. It’s probably not good on the heart for the manager but (it’s) resilience. We take really good at-bats against the toughest guys.”
Detmers brought back memories of last May against the Tampa Bay Rays when he fired a no-hitter in his 11th career start. Detmers matched a career high with 12 strikeouts, including the first two batters of the sixth inning, but never made it out of the frame.
He was chased from the game as the Twins scored three times to tie it. When Minnesota took a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning on a Willi Castro home run, it looked to be another night of woe for the Angels, who led for the 38th time in 46 games but were still about to fall to .500.
That all changed in the bottom of the seventh inning when the Angels stood up for themselves.
The momentum shift actually started in the top of the seventh, two batters after Castro’s home run, when center fielder Moniak robbed Minnesota’s Michael A. Taylor of another homer by reaching over the wall for an out.
In the bottom of the seventh, rookie Zach Neto singled with one out against Griffin Jax (2-6) and scored on a Moniak triple into the right field corner. Moniak was thrown out at home on a Taylor Ward grounder, but after Shohei Othan walked to put two aboard, Renfroe hit just the right note with his soft single to left that brought home Ward from second base.
“It feels incredible and I think that is the ultimate goal, to just be here and help the team win,” said Moniak, who was playing in his sixth game since being recalled for the first time this season. “I feel like I have been able to do that the last week being up here and just focusing on one step at a time.”
Angels right-hander Carlos Estevez struck out two in the ninth inning, including Joey Gallo to end it and earn his 11th save. Zack Weiss (1-0) recorded one out in the seventh inning to earn the win.
Detmers gave up three runs on two hits with two walks in 5-2/3 innings and 105 pitches, while his 12 strikeouts matched his total from a July 31 outing against the Texas Rangers last season.
“My stuff tonight felt really good and it felt like I had all four pitches going,” Detmers said. “… It was kind of my mindset, just attack, attack, attack. I was just going to go as long as I could. I knew the pitch count was getting up but other than that I felt really good.”
The Angels took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Neto singled, went to second on a double from Moniak and scored on a fly ball to center field from Ward.
The lead grew to 3-0 in the fourth inning as Brandon Drury drilled an RBI double off the left field wall, went to third on a Gio Urshella line out then scored when Luis Rengifo stole second base and twins catcher Ryan Jeffers threw the ball into center field.
Even as his pitch count soared, Detmers was in control until he opened the sixth with a pair of strikeouts. Carlos Correa walked before Byron Buxton ended the no-hitter on a single to left field. Kyle Farmer followed with an RBI single to chase Detmers.
“Obviously your stuff has to be good that day but it’s also an approach, setting up guys the way you want to,” Detmers said of his double-digit strikeout game. “You just have to get ahead.”
Minnesota pinch hitter Alex Kirilloff greeted Angels right-hander Jimmy Herget with a two-run double to right field to tie the score at 3-3.
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