Jared Walsh and Jaime Barria are doing all they can to take back spots late in this lost season with the 2021 Angels.
Walsh hit a three-run homer in the 11th inning to help the Angels win a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday in Denver, a game that started with another solid start for Barria.
Walsh now homered in his last four games, including a three-run homer that led the Angels to victory on Thursday and a game-tie in the eighth inning of a game the Angels lost on Friday.
This time, he came to the record with two outs in the 11th. Jo Adell led off with a strikeout, then Andrelton Simmons walked before David Fletcher struckout. Walsh then stepped forward and slammed a Tyler Kinley slider across the right field gate.
“It’s kind of an inexplicable feeling, frankly,” Walsh said. “I felt really solid contact and then I heard the dugout erupt and I looked up a little bit and the ball flew into the air and then I remember touching home plate and that was it. I can’t really give you too much detail because I don’t know myself. “
Walsh, 27, continued to feel more comfortable in the majors after going hitless in 10 at-bats to start the season before being sent back to Long Beach. Since returning, he’s 12 to 34 (.353) with five homers.
“He’s got people of power,” said manager Joe Maddon. “He’s got power for all fields. His hands are so good. It’s no secret why he’s doing what he’s doing. With good health and maintaining some really simple mechanical issues, he can do this for a while.”
After Walsh’s homer, Matt Andriese worked the bottom of the inning to end a game in which the Angels pitched well all night at batter-friendly Coors Field. It started with Barria and then continued with relievers Hoby Milner, Felix Peña, Mike Mayers, Ty Buttrey and Andriese.
Barria gave up two runs in 5-1 / 3 innings, reducing his earned run average to 3.38 after five games. He has allowed three runs or less in each match.
“He’s in,” said Maddon. He’s a pitcher. He doesn’t just throw stones. I like the way he handles it … He’s not going to light the gun. For example, he looks like a (Dylan) Bundy on a few days. kind of skills. “
Barria’s third career start was also at Coors Field in 2018, and he threw 5-1 / 3 scoreless innings in that game.
Between his breakout season in 2018 and his rebound in 2020, there was an ugly season in 2019, when the Angels Barria bounced between Triple-A and the majors, used him after an opener, and made changes to his pitch mix.
“Now I feel like I have a fresh start, a clean slate, and I can go out and be myself,” Barria said through an interpreter.
On Saturday, Barria was drawn in the sixth inning, with a tie, and it stayed that way thanks to excellent work by the Angels-relievers. Milner, Peña and Mayers restrained the Rockies to send the game into extra time. Mayers, who was at work for the third day in a row, retired all six batters he faced.
One of those outs was a diving catch by Justin Upton in the eighth. Upton, who also had two basehits, struggled in the field and at the plate for the past two seasons.
In extra innings, the Angels came over empty in the top of the 10th inning, but then Buttrey got through the bottom of the inning. Buttrey, who suffered a botched save and loss the night before, escaped the bottom of the 10th against the top of the Rockies order, knocked out Trevor Story and got Nolan Arenado on a groundout.
“He looked more assertive, more in attack mode,” Maddon said. “His stuff really always stays the same. No matter how he goes about it, if he is fully convinced of what he is doing and feels good about it, it is generally a good result. “