Austin Riley had a homer and two singles, Kyle Wright won his 12th game to take the National League lead, and the Atlanta Braves rolled on Saturday night with a 7-2 win over the Angels.
Riley singled in the first inning, singled and scored in the third, and hit a double-barreled homer in the fourth ahead of Austin Warren to make it 7-1. Riley, an NL reserve All-Star earlier in the week, has a 15-game hitting streak and is batting .439 in his last 20 games.
Defending World Series champion Braves, who trailed the New York Mets by a half game to take the lead in the NL East, is 35-11 since June 1 — the best record in the majors in that span. They are 19-6 at home throughout the stretch and have outplayed opponents 131-78 in those 25 games.
Shohei Ohtani, a two-way All-Star and the 2021 American League Most Valuable Player, connected with a solo shot from Wright in the fifth, a liner leaving his stick at 110 mph cleared the wall in the right field and trimmed the Angels’ deficit to 7:2. The homer was Ohtani’s 20th.
Wright (12-4) has won five straight decisions over a streak of six starts, one win behind Houston’s Justin Verlander for the major league lead. Wright gave up two runs and seven hits with no walks and eight strikeouts in six innings.
Riley’s homer was his 28th. Atlanta went three deep Friday and has 150 homers, the most in the NL.
Angels starter Patrick Sandoval (3-6) gave up five runs and eight hits in three innings. In his last nine starts, he has fallen to 0-5 with a 4.95 ERA.
The Angels (39-55) have lost 14 of 16 and are their worst 16 games of the season under .500. They lost five games in a row.
Atlanta, who improved to 24-9 against left-handed starters, leads the majors with a 43-7 record when they score the first goal.
The Braves led 2-0 in the first on Dansby Swanson’s single and Travis d’Arnaud’s RBI forceout and 5-0 in the third on Marcell Ozuna’s single and Michael Harris II’s two-run single.
Wright pinned a third-place runner in second and first-second runners in third before Kurt Suzuki got the Angels on the board with an RBI single that made it 5-1 in the fourth.
Mike Trout’s return is not imminent
Angels slugger Mike Trout had a cortisone shot in his back on Thursday and is going through his progression and core stability program, but head athletic coach Mike Frostad said the three-time AL MVP won’t be off the injured list for the next few days. Trout is on the IL for a left rib infection. He also had back spasms.
Angels right-hander Michael Lorenzen (shoulder strain) suffered a graze when he started rehab in double A and will resume a throwing program in the next few days.
Braves left fielder Adam Duvall left the game ahead of the head of the third with left wrist pain. Guillermo Heredia took his place.
Phil Nevin threw
Angels interim manager Phil Nevin was ejected by home plate umpire Alan Porter at the top of the fifth. Coming out of the dugout after Ohtani homed to argue that Riley should have called a pitch before his homer on a check swing, Nevin pointed to first base umpire John Bacon in frustration for calling Riley had not exclaimed.
Ohtani accepted the loss on Friday, but he joined Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan as the only pitcher in Angels history to have 10 or more strikeouts in five straight starts. Ryan had a team-record seven games in 1977 and a six-game streak in 1972–73.
Angels right fielder Dillon Thomas ran right and stretched to make a dive catch in the third that robbed Heredia of a hit and likely saved a run with a runner in second.
The Braves announced an attendance of 42,827, the fifth-biggest attendance since Truist Park opened in 2017 and the 26th sell-out of the season.
Brave right-hander Ian Anderson (8-5, 4.79) meets left-hander Reid Detmers (1-4, 5.60 ERA) as teams complete a three-game streak on Sunday.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/angels/story/2022-07-23/shohei-ohtani-homers-skidding-angels-lose-to-braves Shohei Ohtani homers, but skidding Angels lose to Braves