Angels honor Skaggs, throw combined no-no in routReuters | Updated: 13-07-2019 11:37 IST | Created: 13-07-2019 11:37 IST
The Los Angeles Angels took the field in Anaheim, Calif., on Friday night with fallen teammate Tyler Skaggs in their hearts, on their jerseys, and on the outfield wall. Then they put together one of the most memorable games in team history, sending 13 batters to the plate in a seven-run first inning and riding the duo of Taylor Cole and Felix Pena to a combined no-hitter in a 13-0 rout of the Seattle Mariners.
"This was definitely for him, and he was definitely watching over us tonight," an emotional Trout told MLB Network afterward. Playing in their first home game since Skaggs, 27, was found dead in his hotel room in Southlake, Texas, on July 1, the Angels paid multiple tributes to the pitcher. A photo of Skaggs and his No. 45 were printed on the outfield wall in right-center. Every member of the team wore No. 45 with Skaggs' name on their jerseys.
Star outfielder Mike Trout and pitcher Andrew Heaney brought a framed Skaggs jersey out behind the mound -- which also had a 45 painted into the dirt -- and the stadium then held a 45-second moment of silence. Finally, Skaggs' mother, Debbie, threw out the ceremonial first pitch, a perfect strike. After Cole got the Mariners out in order on 12 pitches, Angels leadoff batter David Fletcher doubled off Seattle's Mike Leake. On the next pitch, Trout sent a 454-foot blast over the center field wall and nearly over the rocks-and-waterfall backdrop in Angel Stadium.
Three singles made it 3-0, and an error by second baseman Dee Gordon turned a possible inning-ending double play into another Angels run. Two more singles brought Trout to the plate again, this time with the bases loaded and two outs. Once again the All-Star delivered, hitting a two-run double into left field for a 7-0 lead. A walk to Shohei Ohtani ended Leake's night, and Matt Festa's strikeout of Justin Upton ended the inning. But not before the Angels sent 13 batters to the plate, banged out eight hits, and scored seven runs.
While the Angels' bats delivered the early fireworks, their two pitchers quietly mowed down Mariners batters. Cole, serving as an "opener," finished two perfect innings before ceding to Pena, who set down the first seven he saw before walking Omar Narvaez with one out in the fifth. That would be the Mariners' only baserunner all night, as Pena retired the final 14 batters he faced. He needed just five pitches in the ninth inning, completing the second combined no-hitter in team history on Mallex Smith's groundout to end the game. It was the 13th combined no-hitter in MLB history.
Emotional teammates celebrated in the infield and then took their jerseys off and placed them on the mound in honor of Skaggs. "That was one of the most special moments I have been a part of on a major league field, 25 years," manager Brad Ausmus said afterward. "Just the way the game went, and culminating with a no-hitter. You feel like it's partly Skaggy's no-hitter."
Pena finished with six strikeouts and the lone walk on 81 pitches, 52 of which were strikes. Trout went 3-for-4 with six RBIs, a walk, a hit-by-pitch and two runs scored. "Now we have an angel taking care of us in heaven," Pena told Fox Sports West through a translator after the game.
"This is for him, his family," Trout said. "You can't make this stuff up, man, this is incredible. We obviously loved him, and it's a very emotional night for all of us." --Field Level Media