Shohei Otani returns home again as the Angels are late to defeat the Rangers

The Angels didn’t want to whine for a third straight game against the Texas Rangers.

On Saturday, after losing by three places at the bottom of eighth place, the Angels rallied to a 9-7 victory over their division rival at Angel Stadium in a game that saw four lead changes.

David Fletcher came into the game from the bench after Phil Gosselin was hit in the head on the field at 91 mph by Rangers starter Glenn Otto in the third inning. In the eighth, Fletcher’s brace of two runs helped turn momentum in favor of the Angels, tying them to within one run.

That eighth, which began with Max Stassi getting a single, also included Brandon Marsh practicing a 12-pitch walk with Rangers pitcher Dennis Santana, both runners setting up for Fletcher’s big hit.

The Angels then equalized and took the lead.

Santana was pulled from behind by Brett Martin, who eliminated Kurt Suzuki with a second out, deliberately passed Shohei Otani, passed Taylor Ward on five bats, and then threw a wild pitch to Luis Rengifo. This allowed Fletcher to score a tied run without even running home. Rengifo then scored a double with two runs, scoring Otani and Ward.

Perhaps the whole thing was a battle cry not just for Gosselin, but also for Otani, who hit his 22nd home run of the season off Otto in the third inning, giving the Angels their first lead of the game.

Otani’s three-time throw, substituting Otto for 1s and 0s, was more support than the Angels had provided in their previous two crushing losses to their division rival. It also gave the Angels a 3–2 lead in the game after starter Chase Silseth gave up two hits to drive two batters in the top half of the half, allowing the Rangers to take a two-run lead.

At the bottom of the third, Gosselin was hit hard enough to blow his helmet off. He stepped away from the batter’s box and crouched facing the dugout, barely lowering his head. Interim manager Phil Nevin and athletic coach Mike Frostad ran out to join him. Gosselin was able to get off the field on his own and Fletcher came in to pinch him.

Andrew Velasquez then stepped up to the plate, bowed and outpaced the toss to take first place, causing the crowd to get excited. Otani’s home run completely woke up the crowd.

Luis Rengifo celebrates his double with two runs for the Angels during the eighth inning on Saturday.

Luis Rengifo celebrates his double with two runs for the Angels during the eighth inning on Saturday.

(Jae K. Hong/Associated Press)

In the fourth, Silseth fell to Marcus Semien of Texas for a three-run home run. The explosion floated towards the rocks in the outfield. Marsh ran and jumped onto the wall, trying to take away Semien’s shot and keep the Angels in the lead. It was too far out of his reach and the Angels once again found themselves playing from behind.

Silseth’s last line included five hits and five earned runs with four walks and five strikeouts in four innings.

The Angels began the process of eliminating the deficit in two runs in the fifth round. Ward worked out the six-way walk. Three batters later, Ward was busted by Stassi, who managed once from Otto to reduce the Angels’ deficit to one.

The Rangers then pulled even further in the sixth inning when recently called-up reliever Touki Toussaint, on his debut for the Angels, conceded a two-run home run to Maibris Viloria. But Toussaint went four innings unharmed to earn the win.

The Rangers made more noise in the ninth, but closer Raizel Iglesias was able to break out of the two-on-two jam with a save.