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Angels toss combined no-hitter against Mariners

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The Angels honored late teammate Tyler Skaggs on Friday night, donning no. 45 jerseys and running a special video tribute to Skaggs prior to the game. Then, during a terrific 13-0 rout of the visiting Mariners, they did something even better to honor him: they threw a combined no-hitter.

Rookie right-hander Taylor Cole led the charge, hurling two perfect innings as an opener for fellow righty Félix Peña. Peña stepped in to replace Cole at the top of the third inning and extended the perfecto into the fifth, when he subsequently lost it on a four-pitch walk to Omar Narváez.

Behind Cole and Peña, the Angels lifted the pitching staff to an unbeatable 13-run lead. In an explosive seven-run first inning, Mike Trout was the first to strike, pouncing on a first-pitch sinker from Mike Leake and returning it to center field for a two-run homer — his 29th of the year.

The home run was followed by a smattering of runs from Andrelton Simmons, Justin Bour, and Dustin Garneau. Trout returned to drive in another two runs on an RBI double, giving the Mariners a substantial seven-run debt to work their way back from. Over the next six innings, Trout accounted for another two runs on a hit-by-pitch and double, while Justin Upton capped the 13-run spread in the seventh with a 388-foot two-RBI blast off of Seattle reliever Parker Markel.

Peña returned in the ninth to finish the no-hitter with just 76 pitches under his belt. He needed just five more pitches to do so, inducing a first-pitch flyout from Mac Williamson and back-to-back two-pitch groundouts from Dee Gordon and Mallex Smith.

The no-hitter is the first in Angels’ history since 2012, when Jered Weaver blanked the Twins 9-0 in May of that season. Coincidentally, 2012 was also the last year the Mariners found themselves on the losing end of a no-no, as then-White Sox starter Philip Humber had completed his first and only perfect game in Seattle the month before.

More than a special franchise moment, however, was the loving way the Angels paid homage to Skaggs throughout the night. Following Cole and Peña’s triumph, the team laid their no. 45 jerseys on the mound in Skaggs’ honor — a moment that most are calling ‘bigger than baseball,’ and rightfully so.

Skaggs Case: Federal Agents have interviewed at least six current or former Angels players

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The Los Angeles Times reports that federal agents have interviewed at least six current and former Angels players as part of their investigation into the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Among the players questioned: Andrew Heaney, Noé Ramirez, Trevor Cahill, and Matt Harvey. An industry source tells NBC Sports that the interviews by federal agents are part of simultaneous investigations into Skaggs’ death by United States Attorneys in both Texas and California.

There has been no suggestion that the players are under criminal scrutiny or are suspected of using opioids. Rather, they are witnesses to the ongoing investigation and their statements have been sought to shed light on drug use by Skaggs and the procurement of illegal drugs by him and others in and around the club.

Skaggs asphyxiated while under the influence of fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol in his Texas hotel room on July 1. This past weekend, ESPN reported that Eric Kay, the Los Angeles Angels’ Director of Communications, knew that Skaggs was an Oxycontin addict, is an addict himself, and purchased opioids for Skaggs and used them with him on multiple occasions. Kay has told DEA agents that, apart from Skaggs, at least five other Angels players are opioid users and that other Angels officials knew of Skaggs’ use. The Angels have denied Kay’s allegations.

In some ways this all resembles what happened in Pittsburgh in the 1980s, when multiple players were interviewed and subsequently called as witnesses in prosecutions that came to be known as the Pittsburgh Drug Trials. There, no baseball players were charged with crimes in connection with what was found to be a cocaine epidemic inside Major League clubhouses, but their presence as witnesses caused the prosecutions to be national news for weeks and months on end.