La Stella's inside-the-park HR powers Angels past Reds, 5-1
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Although the Cincinnati Reds didn't commit an actual error, they made a prolific number of boneheaded plays at Angel Stadium — losing fly balls in center, losing their way on the basepaths, possibly losing track of the outs, even losing their cool over balls and strikes.
La Stella hit a leadoff inside-the-park homer and Luis Rengifo added a three-run shot in the Angels' 5-1 victory over the mistake-prone Reds on Tuesday night.
The Angels (40-40) opened their homestand with their fifth win in eight games. They played well, but the Reds handed them a comfortable win with an embarrassing performance.
"We're looking forward to coming out tomorrow and bouncing back from this one," said manager David Bell, who was ejected along with Yasiel Puig in the sixth.
Almost every time the Reds made one of their many mistakes, the Angels pounced.
La Stella led off the first with a long drive to center, and Nick Senzel botched a tough catch. While the ball rolled along the warning track toward right, La Stella motored home for the 16th homer of his breakthrough season.
"I saw it kick away, so I knew I had third," La Stella said. "I was surprised. When I saw (third base coach Mike Gallego) sending me home, I knew I had a shot."
Joey Votto homered in the first inning for the Reds, but they got just two more runners to third base all night. Eugenio Suarez got caught in a rundown instead of hustling for home later in the first, and Peraza got caught halfheartedly trying to steal in the second.
"You never want to make mistakes like that," Bell said. "It's really important to us, how we run the bases."
La Stella singled leading off the seventh, and Tovar cleverly advanced three bases on two long flyouts, embarrassing the Reds' outfielders after pinch-running.
After Tovar tagged up and got to second on Mike Trout's fly to deepest center, he went from second to home when Peraza caught Ohtani's fly at the wall, but possibly lost track of the outs — or maybe just didn't hustle.
"I was running hard, and I noticed the left fielder kind of put his head down," Tovar said through a translator. "So I turned on the jets."
Andrew Heaney (1-1) pitched five-hit ball into the sixth inning for his first win since September, overcoming four walks.
Tyler Mahle (2-8) yielded six hits and four runs — including Rengifo's second-inning homer — over five innings in the Orange County native's first career start at Angel Stadium.
DOWN THE LINEUP
Albert Pujols went 1 for 4 while batting sixth for the first time since his rookie big-league season in 2001. Pujols hadn't batted lower than fifth in 2,608 consecutive games. Since 1920, only Pete Rose (2,994) and Hank Aaron (2,971) had longer streaks of batting in the top five of his team's order, according to Stats LLC.
PUIG NOT YOUR FRIEND
Puig argued strenuously following a called third strike by umpire Kerwin Danley. The longtime Dodgers outfielder eventually dumped his helmet and bat at the plate, and Bell had to restrain Puig from a more vociferous argument at one point. "It all happened so quick," Bell said. "I felt responsible for not getting out there sooner."
TAKE IT INSIDE
The Halos hadn't hit an inside-the-park homer since Peter Bourjos did it April 11, 2012 at Minnesota. Los Angeles hadn't produced an inside-the-park homer at Angel Stadium since Sept. 29, 2006, when Chone Figgins did it.
Reds: LHP Alex Wood has a sore back after throwing batting practice last Saturday. Cincinnati isn't sure when he will resume throwing. The former Dodgers starter hasn't pitched for the Reds since the offseason trade.
Angels: Ohtani will throw off a mound Wednesday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery Oct. 1. ... Andrelton Simmons is close to a return from a sprained ankle. He played seven innings in a rehab game with Single-A Inland Empire on Tuesday. ... 3B Zack Cozart's left shoulder inflammation hasn't improved, he said. The former Reds regular has been out since May 27, and he is uncertain whether he'll play again this year.