The Los Angeles Angels nearly came through with a no-hitter in a bullpen game.
However, Blake Parker gave up Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s single to right with one out in the eighth inning for Texas’ first hit and the Angels held on for a 1-0 victory over the Rangers on Tuesday night.
“I left that ball up to Isiah Kiner-Falefa,” Parker said. “If I get that down, it’s probably a ground ball.”
The Angels’ starting rotation was decimated by injuries this season, paving the way for what was the fifth bullpen game of the season. Jim Johnson made his second career start and pitched 1 1/3 innings. He was followed by Noe Ramirez, Hansel Robles, Cam Bedrosian, Justin Anderson and Jose Alvarez, who combined to get through seven innings without giving up a hit.
Parker found difficulty in the eighth. After Kiner-Falefa’s single to break up the bid, he got pinch hitter Ronald Gumzan to fly out to left field, then allowed a sharp single by Rougned Odor. Scioscia opted to change pitchers, and those two hits would be all the Rangers could muster. The Angels got out of the inning on a nice defensive play at third base by Kaleb Cowart with runners on second and third.
“(Odor) was out front a little bit and he got some good wood on it and it fell in,” Parker said. “I was glad (Ty) Buttrey came in and nailed that down for us and kept us in it.”
As he walked off the mound, Parker looked to the sky and smacked his hand lightly in his glove in obvious disappointment he wasn’t able to keep the no-hitter going.
Ramirez (5-5) got the win, and Buttrey earned the save.
“They made some great plays behind their pitchers, and I thought their pitchers did a heck of a job retiring 12 in a row at one point,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “We had a couple opportunities early but couldn’t cash in. We stayed in the game well. During the eighth, we gave ourselves an opportunity.”
Jose Fernandez hit his first career home run for the Angels in the second inning, adding another milestone to the 30-year-old Cuban’s rookie season after making his major league debut June 8.
“I feel very proud of what I accomplished and helped the team to win,” Fernandez said through a translator. “I’m very happy to be here. It’s a great moment.”
Catcher Joe Hudson made his major league debut for the Angels, calling a game for eight pitchers in a shutout and near milestone game.
Hudson obviously knew the no-hitter was on the line, and he figured it would happen as the game wore on.
“I’d be lying if I told you no,” he said. “I had a good feeling we’d get through it after the seventh. Almost.”
Adrian Sampson (0-1) made his first start for the Rangers this season and second career start. His last previous start was with Seattle in 2016, but his career went off track when warming up for what was supposed to be his second start with the Mariners. He was injured, had to have surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon and worked his way back.
Sampson allowed Fernandez’s homer among two hits in five innings.
Fernandez got the silent treatment from his teammates when he walked through the dugout, arms outstretched looking for teammates to high-five. When he got to the end of the dugout, Mike Trout splashed him in the face with a cup of water.
“He actually said that a few days ago so I was expecting that,” Fernandez said. “He wanted my first home run to be celebrated that way, throwing water on my face.”
ANGELS BULLPEN GAMES ARE A THING
The eight pitchers used in a nine-inning shutout ties the major league record last done by the Angels on Aug. 30, 2014, against Oakland.
Jered Weaver threw the last no-hitter for the Angels on May 2, 2012, against Minnesota.
LONG TIME BETWEEN STARTS
Johnson made his last start in his major league debut with Baltimore in 2006. He made 666 relief appearances between starts.
Angels: RHP Nick Tropeano (right shoulder inflammation) will have a plate-rich plasma injection Friday and after 10 days begin his rehab program. He will not return this season.
Rangers: RHP Yovani Gallardo (8-4, 6.22 ERA) is 1-3 over his last five starts after a 7-1 stretch before that. He faced the Angels once this year, allowing two runs on six hits in six innings but was not involved in the decision of the Rangers’ 4-2 win Aug. 19.
Angels: RHP Felix Pena (2-4, 4.04 ERA) got the win in his last start Friday after allowing two runs in seven innings with six strikeouts and no walks in Chicago He makes his first career appearance against the Rangers and 15th start of the season.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports