ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Tarik Skubal struck out nine over seven stellar innings of three-hit ball, and Javier Báez had a homer and a three-run double in the Detroit Tigers' 11-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.
Shohei Ohtani sat out his 11th consecutive game with an oblique muscle strain for Los Angeles, and the two-way superstar's locker was mostly cleared out after the game. The Angels declined to say why nearly all of the free agent-to-be's personal items and gear had been removed. or whether it is related to the fact Ohtani could need elbow surgery after tearing a ligament last month.
Jake Rogers also homered for the Tigers, who have won four of six. Spencer Torkelson and Kerry Carpenter drove in two runs apiece as Detroit opened its 10-game California trip with a blowout in a weekend series between two teams about to miss the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season — the longest active postseason droughts in the majors.
“That was about as good as it gets,” Rogers said. “A lot of hits. A lot of quick outs from Skub. Just really good baseball.”
Skubal (6-3) was dominant in his third straight victory, issuing no walks and retiring the Angels’ first nine hitters before Kyren Paris’ bunt single leading off the fourth.
“He had a great mindset, and he has a ton of confidence right now,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “He did a lot of good things.”
Skubal struck out the side in the sixth, and he finished the seventh after a mound visit from Detroit's training staff when he accidentally gouged himself with his fingernail.
“It feels good knowing (Hinch) has a ton of confidence in me,” Skubal said. “I didn't have a ton of long at-bats. The really good ones in this game do that, so that's kind of the goal. ... I love winning games like that. It's good for momentum. It's good for tomorrow.”
The Tigers scored a season-high seven runs in the eighth inning off reliever Jhonathan Diaz before Angels infielder Eduardo Escobar took over on the mound and got five consecutive outs.
David Fletcher and Jared Walsh both homered in their first games back in the major leagues for the Angels, who have lost three straight.
Báez connected in the fourth inning for his ninth homer of the season, his first since Aug. 19. The veteran catcher then cleared the bases in the eighth with a double down the left field line.
Griffin Canning (7-7) yielded four runs on eight hits over six innings in his third consecutive loss for the Angels. He is 1-5 since June 24.
Fletcher, a longtime starter in the Angels' infield, has spent most of this season in the minors after apparently falling out of favor with the big league club. The Orange County native is back for the first time since July 8, and he celebrated with a solo shot off the left field pole for the Halos' only run off Skubal.
Walsh, a former All-Star who struggled with neurological ailments this season and even went unclaimed on waivers, blasted a long homer in his first plate appearance since June 23 in the ninth inning.
“(Walsh) will play tomorrow, and I loved to see that swing tonight,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “Same with Fletch.”
The game was played without a third base umpire after crew chief Ron Kulpa was scratched shortly before first pitch.
Tigers: RHP Casey Mize (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Saturday in Anaheim. ... OF Riley Greene (elbow) will see a specialist in California during Detroit's road trip. ... LHP Andrew Vasquez (calf) will make one more rehab appearance before likely rejoining the Tigers next week.
Angels: INF Luis Rengifo had surgery to repair his completely torn biceps tendon, Nevin said after the game. He is expected to be ready for spring training. ... OF Mickey Moniak (back) and INF Mike Moustakas (forearm) went on the 10-day injured list. ... Before the game, Anthony Rendon said his injury is a broken tibia, not a deep bone bruise. The $245 million third baseman hasn't played since July 4.
Los Angeles' Tyler Anderson (6-6, 5.36 ERA) makes his first start since throwing an eight-inning gem last week against Cleveland. Sawyer Gipson-Long (1-0, 3.60) makes his second career start for Detroit after throwing five solid innings to beat the White Sox last weekend.
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