Calhoun Shines as Diamondbacks Outlast Angels

Diamondbacks Angels

Diamondbacks 9, Angels 8

Kole Calhoun dazzled in his homecoming, homering in his first two at-bats as the Arizona Diamondbacks outslugged the Los Angeles Angels, 9-8, Monday night in Anaheim. The Diamondbacks right fielder, who spent his first eight major league seasons with the Angels, went 3-for-5 with two homers and five RBI in his first game in Anaheim with his new team.

Diamondbacks Blow It Open

The first inning saw two quick outs before first baseman Christian Walker drew a walk from Angels starter Julio Teheran. That brought up Calhoun, who sent the second pitch deep into the right-center-field seats above the high wall for a majestic two-run homer, giving the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, second baseman David Fletcher led off with a single, and first baseman Jared Walsh followed with a bouncing double down the right-field line. Diamondbacks second baseman Josh Rojas – the relay man on the play – muffed Calhoun’s throw to the infield. Fletcher, sensing an opportunity to halve the lead, rounded third and headed home. Rojas recovered in time to throw Fletcher out on a close play at the plate. That brought up center fielder Mike Trout. After Diamondbacks left-hander Madison Bumgarner hit him with a pitch, he got the next hitter – third baseman Anthony Rendon – to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play, making the play at the plate even bigger.

The Diamondbacks made the score 4-0 in the top of the second. With two out, center fielder Daulton Varsho smashed a rocket into the empty right-field seats for a no-doubt solo home run. Catcher Carson Kelly followed with a liner down the line into the front of the left-field seats, giving the Diamondbacks back-to-back home runs for the first time all season.

In the top of the third, the Diamondbacks expanded their 4-0 lead even more. A leadoff single by designated hitter Pavin Smith and follow-up walk by Walker put two on for Calhoun. He smoked the first pitch, driving it over the high wall in right-center for his second homer of the game. This gave both the Diamondbacks a 7-0 lead and Calhoun his career-high fifth RBI of the game.

Angels Roar Back

The Angels got one back in the bottom of the inning on a home run by first baseman Jared Walsh, his fifth in the last seven games dating back to September 6. In the top of the fourth, the Diamondbacks scored again when Kelly led off with a double and worked his way home on a grounder to first by Rojas and sacrifice fly by Smith. With an 8-1 lead and Bumgarner looking sharp, it looked like the rout was on.

The bottom of the fifth made a blowout seem less likely. A pair of leadoff singles by shortstop Andrelton Simmons and Fletcher brought up the red-hot Walsh. He grounded a double to right, scoring both runners and giving him his third hit of the game. After Trout flied to right, Rendon ripped a double into the left-field corner, scoring Walsh and making the score 8-4. Designated hitter Albert Pujols, up next, bounced out on a comebacker for the second out. Bumgarner looked like he had settled down, but left fielder and former Diamondback Justin Upton dug the knife in deeper when he followed with a two-run homer that made the score 8-6. A grounder to third by catcher Max Stassi – the eighth batter of the inning – retired the side.

The bottom of the sixth saw Bumgarner return to the mound. Three straight doubles from Ward, Simmons, and Fletcher erased the lead. A grounder to short by Walsh made the first out of the inning. This brought up the right-handed Trout, prompting Lovullo to pull Bumgarner and bring in Junior Guerra. He fanned Trout and got the next hitter – Rendon – on a fly to right, ending the inning with the game tied at eight.

Maligned Diamondbacks Relief Corps Shuts Angels Down

The seventh saw Angels right-hander Mike Mayers and Diamondbacks righty Keury Mella trade 1-2-3 innings. Former Diamondbacks reliver Matt Andriese – traded to the Angels in February for Jeremy Beasley – took the hill in the top of the eighth. Left fielder David Peralta welcomed him to the game with a laser to right-center. It forcefully struck the video board above the fence, giving him a solo home run for a 9-8 lead. Hector Rondon pitched a solid bottom of the eighth, with his one-out walk of Simmons being his only baserunner.

The Diamondbacks got a two-out double in the top of the ninth from Walker but left him stranded. That brought Stefan Crichton to the mound to pitch the bottom of the ninth. His work was cut out for him, as he had to face two future Hall of Famers and the third-place finisher in the 2019 National League MVP race. Trout came up first and lined to right for the first out. Rendon, the one who finished third in the 2019 NL MVP vote, hit a fly to center for the second out. That brought up Pujols, whose fly to Peralta in left ended the wacky affair.

Mella earned the first win of his career, while Andriese took the loss. Crichton earned his second save, both of the season and of his career. The two teams will square off again Tuesday evening at 6:40 Pacific, with Diamondbacks lefty Caleb Smith (0-0, 3.00 ERA) facing righty Dylan Bundy (5-2, 2.48 ERA).

Post-Game Feelings

Bumgarner was glad that the Diamondbacks won, saying “that’s ultimately what I care about.” He added, “Ideally, I’d like to make it a little easier on everybody.” It has been a frustrating season for him, and he summed it up to reporters as “2020 sucks. I’m pretty much on board with that now. I’m not a big fan of it.”

Calhoun said that hitting two home runs against his former team was “pretty cool. The first one was like, ‘Wow, that’s kind of surreal. First time back, old team, hit a homer.’ Then the second one was like, ‘Man, this is crazy.’ (It was a) crazy game – crazy night. I’m grateful for that opportunity to play here again, especially to get a win against (my) former team.”

Main Photo
Embed from Getty Images