This was the offense the Angels have been seeking. But it wasn’t enough to overcome a gassed bullpen’s struggles.
Starter Reid Detmers did not have his best outing Tuesday night against the Kansas City Royals at Angel Stadium. Neither did some of the Angels’ relievers. Despite slugger Shohei Ohtani tying the score in the ninth inning with his second three-run homer of the game and finishing with a career-best eight RBIs, the Angels lost 12-11 in 11 innings.
Ohtani was in a three-for-19 slump without an extra-base hit or an RBI entering Tuesday’s game. In the ninth inning, he squared up Royals reliever Scott Barlow’s 78.6-mph curveball and sent it over the right-field fence.
The blast tied the score with one out in the ninth.
But in the 11th inning, reliever José Quijada gave up an RBI double to Whit Merrifield and an RBI single to Kyle Isbel, which allowed the Royals to go ahead comfortably enough.
Five innings earlier, with the Angels down 6-1, Ohtani walked to the plate to the usual home cheers, with Taylor Ward and Mike Trout on base after walking.
Ohtani worked a full count against Royals starter Jonathan Heasley. Then came the sixth pitch, a 92.3-mph four-seam fastball down the middle. Ohtani hit it deep over the center-field wall.
The Angels pulled to within one run that inning after Jared Walsh — who hit a solo home run in the fourth — followed with a double, eventually getting driven in by Max Stassi’s single.
The momentum continued in the seventh after the Royals added another run, this time off reliever Andrew Wantz. The Angels tied the score at 7 after Ohtani’s sacrifice fly and Walsh’s triple.
Angels relievers Aaron Loup and Jimmy Herget gave up a combined three runs in the eighth and ninth innings before Ohtani’s blast in the ninth tied the score.
Ohtani’s eight RBIs on Tuesday were two shy of the franchise record of 10 set by Garret Anderson against the New York Yankees on Aug.21, 2007.
Detmers’ start was erratic.
In five innings, he gave up five runs, five hits and two walks. He struck out six.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.