Angels lose on walk-off homer in Oakland in first game of doubleheader

OAKLAND — The Angels had Raisel Iglesias on the mound, one strike away from a two-run victory.

Then it all went wrong.

Iglesias gave up a double, a walk and then a three-run homer to Luis Barrera, dropping the Angels to a stunning 4-3 loss to the Oakland A’s in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday.

It was the first time since July 28, 2021 that Iglesias suffered a blown save. He had converted 21 saves in a row since then.

“He’s one of the best, if not the best,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “When you have two outs in the ninth and your guy on the mound, you feel pretty good about that.”

Iglesias took the mound with a 3-1 lead, and he quickly retired the first two hitters. He then got ahead of Ramon Laureano with two quick strikes. Laureano, who typically hurts the Angels, ended up fouling off two pitches before he hit a 97 mph fastball into the gap in right center, for a double.

Iglesias then walked Christian Bethancourt on five pitches, two of which were borderline calls that he didn’t get.

That brought up Barrera, a 26-year-old outfielder who had came to the plate with three hits in 16 big league at-bats. He’d also gotten doubled off as a pinch-runner and made an error that cost the A’s a run. But he made up for it all when he spun on an inside slider from Iglesias, hammering it over the right field fence.

“He had a great at-bat,” Iglesias said through an interpreter. “Bad location. And he hit it good. That was it.”

Iglesias said he’s feeling fine physically, and he was confident that he can bounce back.

“Its a hard game,” he said. “I didn’t have luck on my side today. I’ll keep fighting to get more saves.”

Although Iglesias took the loss, the Angels could have given their pitching staff a bigger cushion if they had done better than 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position. Their offense was challenged because Maddon chose to start a lineup without three of his best hitters. Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Taylor Ward were all benched, saved for the nightcap.

The Angels had only one run before Trout and Rendon were used as pinch-hitters in the eighth inning, generating the runs that put them ahead.

Jared Walsh walked with one out in the eighth, bringing Trout to the plate as a pinch-hitter. After a wild pitch sent Walsh to second, Trout was intentionally walked. Rendon then singled, driving in Walsh. Trout then scored an insurance run when Andrew Velazquez singled and Barrera made an error in left field.

Angels starter Jhonathan Diaz didn’t get a decision, even though he didn’t allow a run. Diaz has pitched 9-2/3 innings in two spots, without allowing a run. He worked five innings in his season debut last weekend.

Diaz struck out four and walked four, and the only hit he allowed was a ball that converted infielder Jack Mayfield misplayed into a double in right field.

Defense, however, was otherwise strong for the Angels.

Shortstop Velazquez made a leaping snag of a line drive in the first inning. Center fielder Aaron Whitefield made a diving catch to end the sixth inning.

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The Angels also turned double plays on ground balls in the third, sixth and eighth innings.

In the seventh, Mayfield caught a fly ball in shallow right field and made a quick throw to first to double off Barrera, ending that inning.

ROSTER SHUFFLING

The Angels are back to having only three true outfielders.

Between games of the doubleheader on Saturday, they designated Whitefield for assignment and optioned Mayfield. That left them with just Trout, Brandon Marsh and Ward on the roster.

Tyler Wade and Rengifo can also play outfield. Wade started in left in the second game on Saturday.

The Angels needed to create roster space for right-hander Andrew Wantz, who was called up to provide bullpen depth for the second game. They also brought Matt Duffy back after a stint on the COVID-related injured list.

It was noteworthy that the Angels kept Luis Rengifo over Mayfield. Both players were in camp competing for a spot, and Mayfield won the job.

Rengifo then went to Triple-A and hit .313 with a .909 OPS. He was 4 for 13 since coming back to the majors, and he’d played solid defense.

NEXT FOR SILSETH?

Maddon said the Angels still aren’t sure what’s next for Chase Silseth, who pitched six scoreless innings in his major league debut. They are waiting to see what their roster needs are after Saturday’s doubleheader.

The Angels don’t need a sixth starter for a couple weeks, so they could option Silseth if they need his spot for bullpen reinforcements in the short term.

UP NEXT

Angels (LHP Patrick Sandoval, 1-1, 2.03) at A’s (RHP Frankie Montas, 2-3, 3.77), Sunday, 1:07 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM