Reid Detmers’ 12 strikeouts, immaculate inning can’t save Angels

Reid Detmers has improved a lot since returning from his short stint in the minor leagues.

The same pitcher who threw a no-hitter in May struggled through June, including back-to-back starts giving up a total of nine earned runs and four home runs.

On Sunday, he posted a career-high in strikeouts (12), threw seven innings with three hits, two runs (one earned) baseball and threw a flawless inning on his way to the Angels’ 5-2 loss to the Texas Rangers.

“The adjustment he made when he came down to Triple A for a start and the guy that came back, he was just amazing,” said interim manager Phil Nevin. “He was able to adjust himself on the hill. His presence, everything about him was pretty good.

“He busted his ass.”

Since returning to the rotation on July 8, Detmers has not given up more than two earned runs in a game. His second inning on Sunday also contributed to this improvement. Detmers threw nine pitches, all strikes — on a combination of his four-seam fastball, sinker, and slider — on three batters for the third clean inning in Angels history, joining Nolan Ryan (1972) and Garrett Richards (2014) on.

Detmers is the first rookie to throw a clean inning and a no-hitter in the same season. The only other pitchers to pull off the feat were Sandy Koufax, who made it three straight seasons in 1962-64, and Mike Fiers, who made it in 2014.

“I did not know that. That’s pretty cool,” said Detmers modestly after learning about the performance. “I really don’t know what to say. The stuff worked, felt good, lots of swings and misses.”

Both Detmers and Nevin cited his slider as the biggest difference maker in his return to the big league club.

“It’s been my favorite place since I’ve been back,” said Detmers. “It feels really good to come out. I feel like I can use it in every way. But right now it’s pretty much my strikeout pitch.”

Angels right fielder Taylor Ward catches a ball hit for a three-run double by Rangers' Ezequiel Durán.

Angels right fielder Taylor Ward (right) catches a ball batted by Rangers’ Ezequiel Durán to a three-run double while Brandon Marsh looks on during the ninth inning on Sunday.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Detmers has gone to his slider on 33% of his pitches this month against a .120 batting average.

“The Slider has become just a playing field that will soon be the talk of the whole league,” Nevin said. “When you see the turns being taken on them as they are. It comes out like a fastball and just goes away.”

Despite Detmer’s orders, the game did not end in the Angels’ favour.

Shohei Ohtani got the offense going in the first inning with a triple-off Rangers starter Dane Dunning falling just fair in right field. Luis Rengifo hit a single on full count that bounced into left field to score Ohtani.

Ohtani and Rengifo’s efforts drew 1-1 after Detmers gave up a leadoff walk against Marcus Semien, who struck in Nathaniel Lowe’s singles three batters later.

By the end of the second, Max Stassi and Brandon Marsh had back-to-back singles, and Dillon Thomas left to load bases. Andrew Velazquez hit a victim fly to make it 2-1.

The Rangers split in the fifth.

Charlie Culberson hit a double that rolled down the left field line and bounced off the left-most corner. It was a similar play to the one that added an error to Jo Adell’s stat sheet two games earlier. This time it was Marsh who was flipped by the ball’s movement in the corner and Culberson was able to move into third place. Marsh was accused of a mistake.

Culberson was brought in for an unearned run by Elier Hernandez at the next at-bat.

“Honestly, he shouldn’t have missed a run today,” Nevin said of Detmers.

The Rangers retired in the ninth inning after getting a single and a walk-off relief to José Quijada before he could score the first strikeout. Quijada walked his fourth batter to load the bases and his day was over.

Raisel Iglesias needed two outs, but Ezequiel Durán hit Iglesias’ second throw near the middle right field section of the wall that Taylor Ward couldn’t catch, and scored three runs. Reid Detmers’ 12 strikeouts, immaculate inning can’t save Angels

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