Taijuan Walker was putty in the hands of the Angels on Saturday night. After Yunel Escobar left the game with a contusion on his left hand, the result of an errant first pitch, the rest of the lineup took turns destroying Walker’s 4.19 ERA with a six-run, three-homer effort in the first 2/3 of the first inning.
Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte came in to clean up the mess, but inadvertently gave up three runs instead, catapulting the Angels to the top of the scoreboard with a nine-run lead and eight innings still left to play. It was sweet, sweet revenge for the Angels, who were similarly trounced on Friday night after the Mariners took the series opener, 11-8.
Seattle rebounded in the bottom of the first inning with Franklin Gutierrez‘s 21st home run of the season, followed by a Robinson Cano ground-rule double that skimmed the top of the left field wall and put him at 30 on the year. Cano has now produced at least 30 doubles in each of his last twelve seasons, joining Stan Musial, Tris Speaker, and Honus Wagner as the only major league players to do so.
In the second and third innings, respectively, Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols hit their second homers of the night, giving Venditte a workout as he switched from his left arm, to his right, to his left, and back again. Jefry Marte padded the Angels’ seven-run lead in the fourth with an RBI single, and despite a long ball from Nelson Cruz in the bottom of the frame, the Angels coasted to an easy 10-3 finish.
At any other point in the season, an implosion of double-digit proportions might have been dismissed as an anomaly, but Walker hasn’t looked himself since returning from the 15-day disabled list with a right foot injury. Heading into Saturday, the right-hander sported a 6.88 ERA over his past three outings, totaling 14 runs, six walks, and eight strikeouts in 17 innings. With the Mariners sitting just five games out of a wild card spot, they’ll have to hope Walker displays even a modicum of the dominance he did back in June, or else trust that the bullpen and offense can cover for his mistakes.
Here are the rest of the box scores for Saturday’s games. Keep an eye out for the Twins’ eight-run inning, Rich Hill‘s no-hit attempt, Kevin Gausman‘s two-hitter, and Yoan Moncada‘s first major league hit.
Giants 3, Cubs 2
Rangers 12, Astros 4
Reds 9, Cardinals 1
Rays 7, Blue Jays 5
Braves 6, Phillies 4 (10 innings)
Brewers 7, Pirates 4
Orioles 2, Yankees 0
Twins 11, White Sox 3
Indians 8, Marlins 3
Mets 3, Nationals 1
Royals 5, Tigers 2
Diamondbacks 9, Rockies 4
Red Sox 11, Athletics 2
Angels 10, Mariners 3
Dodgers 5, Padres 1