Thursday's MLB: Angels tie record with 7 solo HRs but lose to Athletics

Joe Reedy
Associated Press

Anaheim, Calif. — In a season that has turned into a titanic struggle for the Los Angeles Angels, they suffered another pain-staking defeat Thursday.

The Halos tied a major league record with seven solo home runs, including two by Shohei Ohtani, but still lost to the Oakland Athletics 8-7 in a crazy matinee affair at Angel Stadium.

Angels' Mickey Moniak, center, celebrates his home run with teammates during the ninth inning on Thursday against the Athletics in Anaheim, Calif.

The Angels are the first team in the majors to hit seven solo homers and score no other runs in a game. They’re also the sixth team to hit seven homers and lose, according to STATS.

“I guess they always say solo home runs don’t beat you, but you feel like if you hit seven, you might. It didn’t work out for us,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said.

Los Angeles was 24-13 and tied with Houston for the AL West lead after beating Oakland on May 15. Since then, the Angels have gone 20-48 and are a season-low 17 games under .500 at 44-61.

The tailspin has included a 14-game losing streak, the firing of Joe Maddon on June 7, blowing a four-run, eighth-inning lead at Philadelphia on June 5 and a wild, bench-clearing brawl against the Seattle Mariners on June 26.

Ramon Laureano homered and drove in four runs, and Seth Brown had a two-run shot during a six-run third inning for AL-worst Oakland. Sean Murphy also drove in two runs for the Athletics, who took the final two games of the series and have won six of their last nine.

“Today was a little bit of a different baseball game than I have probably been a part of. It is a very interesting boxscore,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “I’m happy that our eight held up, and we were able to get a win.

“The goal is to win the game and score more runs. Solo home runs at the end of the day are nice, but they don’t necessarily always help you win games.”

Paul Blackburn (7-6) picked up his first win since June 16 despite surrendering four home runs on six hits.

“It was one of those days where any ball hitting the air seemed like it went out,” said Blackburn, who went five innings and struck out three. “I’ve never seen anything like that, but I’ll take a series win any day.”

Ohtani left Wednesday night’s game due to a left forearm cramp, but he bounced back with three hits and two RBIs. It was his 11th multihomer game in the majors and fifth this season.

MLB heads to London

Major League Baseball plans to return to London next year for the first time since 2019.

The league announced Thursday that the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs will play a two-game series on June 24-25, 2023, at London Stadium. The NL Central rivals were supposed to play in London in 2020, but the games were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees players line up as flags are unfurled before a game at London Stadium in 2019.

“The Cardinals are excited and honored to be a part of the London Series next year,” Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a release. “The Cardinals-Cubs rivalry is one of the best in sports, and it will be exciting to bring it to Europe for a new audience to experience.”

MLB last played in London in 2019, when the New York Yankees swept a two-game set against the Boston Red Sox in June at London Stadium. Those were also MLB’s first regular-season games played in Europe.

Chicago and St. Louis have played international games before. The Cubs opened the 2000 season in Tokyo against the New York Mets, and played a three-game series against the Montreal Expos in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2003. The Cardinals played a two-game set against Cincinnati in Mexico in 2019.

“The MLB London Series between the Cubs and Cardinals has been in the works for years now and we’re thrilled to finally be able to bring one of baseball’s biggest rivalries to fans abroad in 2023,” Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said in a release.

The 2023 London Series is part of an international slate that was approved in the March labor agreement between MLB and the players’ association. It also calls for London games in 2024 and 2026, the first France games in 2025, annual Mexico City games from 2023-26, an Asian opener in 2024 and a Tokyo opener in 2025.

“These games will be a great opportunity to once again showcase the London Stadium as a multiuse venue and an asset to the capital,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement. “The St Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs are two of the best supported clubs in baseball and I know they will receive a fantastic reception next summer here in the sporting capital of the world.”

More Thursday games

(At) Pittsburgh 5, Milwaukee 4: Bryan Reynolds raced home on a wild pitch with one out in the 10th inning, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates past the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 on Thursday to complete a three-game sweep.

Reynolds tied it earlier in the inning when he hit a ground-rule double down the right-field line off Matt Bush (2-2). Reynolds moved to third on a fly to right field by Ke’Bryan Hayes and raced home when a pitch from Bush slipped by catcher Victor Caratini to give the Pirates their third comeback win over first-place Milwaukee in as many days.

Reynolds, rookie Tucupita Maracano, Jason Delay and Ben Gamel had two hits each for Pittsburgh. Duane Underwood Jr. (1-3) got the win.

The Brewers have lost four straight since dealing All-Star closer Josh Hader to San Diego over the weekend.

Pittsburgh trailed 3-1 in the seventh but pulled even behind RBI singles by Maracano and Gamel.

(At) St. Louis 4, Chicago Cubs 3, Game 1: Lars Nootbaar hit a tying sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and a game-ending RBI single in the ninth, lifting the Cardinals to the win in the opener of a split doubleheader.

St. Louis trailed 3-0 before rallying in the seventh against Marcus Stroman. Nolan Gorman and Paul Goldschmidt hit back-to-back homers before Nolan Arenado doubled and scored on Nootbaar’s flyball to center.

Nootbaar singled in Arenado in the ninth against Erich Uelmen (0-1).

Ryan Helsley (6-1) got three outs for the win, helping the Cardinals pull within a half-game of Milwaukee for the NL Central lead.

Willson Contreras homered for Chicago, which dropped its fourth straight game.