With bat and glove, Simmons leads Angels past Tigers 6-2
Simmons hit a two-run homer and dazzled in the field to lead the Angels to a 6-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.
Young hit his first homer of the season, drove in two runs and made a diving catch in deep center field to end the eighth inning for the Angels, who won for just the second time in eight games.
“He was just trying to show off,” Simmons said with a laugh. “He was telling me he was following suit. But no, his diving play was way better, and his homer was a little farther than mine. Where the big boys hit it.”
Simmons stepped up with two key hits and two runs while Mike Trout missed his fifth consecutive game with a sore right wrist for the Angels. The two-time AL MVP’s injury absence is the second-longest of his big-league career, surpassed only by the 39 games he missed last season with a torn thumb ligament.
The Angels know they’ll struggle to score without their offensive centerpiece, but Simmons was determined to do something about it.
“We had a tough road trip, missing Mike a little bit,” Simmons said. “We talked about it. We needed the big bats, needed to hit a couple of homers to fill in for Mike.”
Not everything went well for the Angels in the opener of a six-game homestand: Nick Tropeano (5-6) pitched five innings of one-hit ball and retired 12 of his final 13 batters before heading to the clubhouse after just 62 pitches with shoulder tightness. The right-hander has struggled with shoulder problems for most of this season after missing the 2017 campaign for Tommy John surgery, including a 31-game stint on the disabled list that ended July 21.
“There was just some stiffness, and when that’s the case coming back from T.J., you’re worried about the elbow if it’s overcompensating,” Tropeano said. “We’re just going to play it by ear for the next few days.”
Nicholas Castellanos hit a first-inning homer, but the Tigers managed just three hits as their offensive slump continued. Detroit has scored just three runs over 39 innings while losing the first four games of its California road trip.
“It’s the same story,” Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’re not pushing enough runs across. We had some opportunities, and it didn’t happen.”
Matthew Boyd (6-10) pitched six-hit ball into the sixth inning, but took his sixth loss in nine starts overall.
Kaleb Cowart ended his lengthy slump and tied it with an RBI double in the second inning before Simmons put the Angels ahead in the fourth with his seventh homer. Young added a solo shot to deep center in the fifth for his first big-league homer since last October.
After Tropeano’s abrupt departure, Angels reliever Noe Ramirez allowed four straight baserunners, culminating in Jose Iglesias’ RBI single. Cam Bedrosian took over and escaped the bases-loaded, no-outs jam with a strikeout and a hard-hit grounder by Jeimer Candelario that was turned into a double play by Simmons’ superb throw in the pivot .
“It’s a frustrating thing for (Candelario) because he hit it right on the screws, but it was right at (second baseman David Fletcher),” Gardenhire said. “That’s all you can do as a hitter.”
Simmons made another impressive defensive play in the eighth, diving to snag James McCann’s liner.
Trout got a cortisone injection in his wrist Monday, likely ruling him out for this series — including the game on his 27th birthday Tuesday. Manager Mike Scioscia is hopeful Trout will feel good for the Angels’ weekend series against Oakland after an off day Thursday.
Shohei Ohtani went 0 for 2 with two walks as the Angels’ designated hitter, equaling the number of walks he drew in his previous 16 games combined.
But Ohtani’s recovery from his sprained elbow ligament is progressing more quickly than the Angels hoped, Scioscia said. Ohtani is throwing from 120 feet. The club still has no timetable for getting its two-way rookie sensation back on the mound, but it is likely to be sooner than the club initially expected internally.
Tigers: Jacob Turner makes his season debut in Mike Fiers’ rotation spot after being recalled from Triple-A Toledo in the wake of Fiers’ trade to Oakland . Turner is a former top Tigers prospect who was traded in 2012, but returned on a minor-league deal this year.
Angels: Andrew Heaney (6-7, 3.75 ERA) makes his second career start against the Tigers after taking a loss May 31 in Detroit. He’s a rare constant in the Halos’ tumultuous rotation, setting career highs already with 20 starts and 122 1/3 innings pitched.