ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — With much-improved performances from Shohei Ohtani’s teammates on the mound and with the bats in recent days, the Los Angeles Angels appear to be emerging from their prolonged funk.
There’s absolutely no end in sight to the New York Yankees’ malaise.
Ohtani had an RBI triple, Mickey Moniak hit a two-run homer and Patrick Sandoval pitched two-hit ball into the eighth inning of the Angels’ 5-1 victory over New York on Tuesday night.
Moniak had three hits — one more than the Yankees — and drove in three runs for the Angels, who have won three of four after a 1-10 skid. With its first series victory since June 16-18 against Kansas City, Los Angeles is back at .500 while attempting to make enough progress in the AL postseason race to justify keeping Ohtani past the Aug. 1 trade deadline.
“It was (great) to be able to do something to get us a lead early, and then Sandy was lights out, and it turned out that’s all we needed,” Moniak said of his first-inning homer. “With the talent that we have in our lineup, I like our odds.”
Ohtani’s career-best streak of three straight games with a homer ended, but the two-way superstar and major league homers leader delivered his big league-high seventh triple in the fifth, scoring Zach Neto from first.
Sandoval (5-7) was outstanding in his first start in 13 days, mixing his breaking pitches and changeup to near-perfection while retiring 22 of New York’s 27 batters and outpitching Domingo Germán (5-6).
Sandoval finished the Angels’ longest outing from a starter in three weeks with seven strikeouts, getting a standing ovation as he left the mound.
“It’s awesome to watch the lineup get to Germán like that, and then just go out there and do my job,” Sandoval said.
Gleyber Torres’ third-inning homer was New York’s only hit until Anthony Volpe’s one-out single finally chased Sandoval. The Yankees are 1-4 on their trip out of the break, losing both series in Denver and Anaheim.
“(Sandoval) was dominating us,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He was definitely sharp, but we’ve got to do better. … We just weren’t able to really get much of the barrel on the ball enough.”
The Yankees’ offensive woes show no signs of abating in Aaron Judge’s prolonged absence. New York dropped to 15-21 since the AL MVP got hurt early last month, scoring two runs or fewer for the 14th time.
Their two hits matched a season low. New York is hitting a major league-worst .217 since Judge’s injury at Dodger Stadium.
“There’s no quit in it,” Boone said. “We’ve got really good players, and a lot of guys that are going through a tough stretch — for some, probably as tough a stretch as they’ve had in their career. You don’t take your ball and go home. You stick your nose in there and grind it out. We’re doing that. They’re not leaving any stone unturned. It’s not from a lack of work and focus and conversations.”
Germán struck out nine for the third time in his last four starts but also yielded five runs on four hits and three walks.
Moniak extended the longest hitting streak of his career to 10 games in the first inning with the 11th homer of his impressive season. Moniak also extended the Angels’ team streak to 17 straight games with a homer, just one shy of the franchise record set in August 1982.
Torres connected for his 14th homer in the third.
Ohtani drew the Angels’ third consecutive walk to load the bases in the third, but Germán allowed just one run when Michael Stefanic scored on a wild pitch.
Ohtani’s triple in the fifth left his bat at a scorching 110.5 mph, and he scored moments later on Moniak’s single.
Infielder George Lombard Jr., the Yankees’ first-round pick in the amateur draft, agreed to a $3.3 million signing bonus, above his slot of $3,065,000. Lombard, the son of the Detroit Tigers’ bench coach, hit .478 with six homers and 22 RBIs in 29 games as a senior at Gulliver Prep High School in Miami.
Yankees: Boone claimed Judge is “close” to returning, but the manager gave no concrete range, saying it could be days or weeks. Judge attended batting practice Tuesday in Anaheim. His next steps in rehab are running, cutting and agility. … OF Greg Allen moved from Single-A Tampa to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in his rehabilitation assignment. He has been out since June 2 with a hip flexor strain.
Angels: Rookie C Logan O’Hoppe worked out in catching gear for the first time since tearing his labrum, taking throws on flat ground. He’s hoping to return in August.
Carlos Rodón (0-2, 5.23 ERA) makes his third start for the Yankees on Wednesday after missing the first half of his debut New York season with injuries. Los Angeles counters with Chase Silseth (1-1, 5.30 ERA), who will come up from the minors for the spot start.