ANAHEIM — Perhaps sometime when the Angels are playing for something, what Mickey Moniak did on Tuesday night will pay dividends.
Moniak, who has struggled to hit lefties, delivered a game-tying single against a lefty with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Angels still lost, 5-4, in 10 innings to the Baltimore Orioles, running their losing streak to five games, though.
The loss doesn’t matter much as the Angels finish out this disappointing season, which now includes 24 losses in 32 games since they were five games above .500 at the trade deadline.
One of the silver linings Tuesday was an encouraging start for Reid Detmers, who gave up two runs in 6⅔ innings, and another was Moniak.
He brought a .186 average against lefties to the plate in the ninth, after the Orioles had pitched around right-handed hitting Logan O’Hoppe to bring Moniak to the plate against lefty DL Hall.
“I know what the numbers look like, but he’s had some really good at-bats and late against tough left-handed relievers,” Manager Phil Nevin said. “To me, that’s something that can boost him going forward.”
Moniak punched a single to center, tying the rollercoaster game.
The Orioles blew a two-run lead in the seventh, then Angels closer Carlos Estévez gave up a one-run lead in the top of the ninth.
Estévez, who was looking for his 30th save, gave up a broken-bat bloop double to Adam Frazier with one out. A clean single by Ryan O’Hearn drove him in to tie the score.
After a walk moved the go-ahead run into scoring position, Ryan Mountcastle hit a sharp grounder toward second, but Brandon Drury seemed to be blocked out by umpire Ryan Wills and the ball shot into the outfield, allowing the go-ahead run to score.
If Drury hadn’t been blocked, “that’s probably a double play,” Nevin said. “But that’s baseball.”
The Angels then took Estévez off the hook with a run in the bottom of the inning.
In the 10th, right-hander José Soriano retired all three hitters he faced, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Orioles from cashing in their free runner, moving him around with two ground balls.
The Angels got their runner to third with a fly ball, but then Trey Cabbage and Nolan Schanuel both struck out.
Long before all of that, Detmers continued to show improvement.
Detmers’ outing gives him a 3.13 ERA over his last four starts.
“Obviously you want to finish the season strong,” Detmers said. “The season is what it is. Obviously can’t really do anything about the past. But the main focus these next four or five starts is to go out there and dominate and compete and go into next year on a good note.”
Detmers said he didn’t have his best stuff, but he worked around nine hits and a walk.
The Angels erased one runner on a traditional double play and two others were retired trying for extra bases. The Angels threw out Ryan Mountcastle trying to tag up from first on a fly ball to left field in the third, and they threw out Austin Hays at the plate in the fourth.
Detmers also used a slightly different pitch mix. Detmers had thrown his changeup just 3% of the time this season, but 19% of his pitches on Tuesday were changeups.
“The scouting report on me is a lot of sliders, so I had a conversation with O’Hoppe and said ‘Let’s start throwing the changeup,’ and we kind of stuck to it,” Detmers said. “The changeup is the pitch that’s felt the best the last two or three starts and we haven’t thrown it as much. So today we really made a plan around the changeup and it worked out.”
Only two of the changeups were put in play, and both were hits. He also got just one whiff on nine swings at the pitch.
“The four-pitch mix that he has, with a big curveball, his fastball is going to be more effective when he has those four,” Nevin said. “I just really liked the way he mixed it up. He really threw a great game.”
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