A day after he was drilled in the right elbow by a 93.4-mph fastball, Angels right-hander Shohei Ohtani was scratched from Monday night’s scheduled start against the Tampa Bay Rays at Angel Stadium.
Left-hander José Quintana took Ohtani’s place and took a beating in a 7-3 loss, giving up five runs and six hits in a 32/3-inning start that could jeopardize his spot in the rotation, but the pitcher was the least of the team’s concerns.
Of far greater significance was a potentially serious injury to third baseman and cleanup man Anthony Rendon, who had to be helped off the field after fouling a pitch from sidearm-throwing Ryan Thompson off his left knee in the eighth inning.
The play was eerily reminiscent of one in July 2019, when then-Angels infielder Tommy La Stella fouled a ball off his right leg and suffered a fractured tibia. Rendon, who had recently returned from a left-groin strain, was replaced by Scott Schebler, who struck out to end the inning.
The Angels trimmed a 5-0 deficit to 5-3 in the sixth when Ohtani crushed a two-run homer to center field and Rendon hit a solo shot to left off Rays starter Tyler Glasnow. Manuel Margot’s two-run homer in the top of the ninth pushed Tampa Bay’s lead to 7-3.
The Angels did not help themselves with two ill-advised gambles on the basepaths. Ohtani was thrown out attempting to steal third with one out and Mike Trout at the plate in the first.
Trailing by two runs, Albert Pujols led off the seventh with a single. Jose Iglesias lofted a fly ball toward the line in left but not too deep. The 41-year-old, heavy-legged Pujols tagged and was thrown out by Rays left fielder Randy Arozarena.
Quintana entered with an 0-2 record and 10.13 ERA and — despite striking out nine — departed with a 10.59 ERA, the highest mark for a pitcher in his first five games (minimum 15 innings) with the Angels, topping Trevor Bell’s 9.53 ERA in 2009 and Julio Teheran’s 9.17 ERA in 2020.
The game could not have started better for Quintana, who struck out five of his first six batters, but when Francisco Mejia singled to lead off the third, Quintana seemed to lose his tempo, rhythm and command out of the stretch.
Willy Adames hit a 107-mph rocket to the gap in right-center for a double. Kevin Kiermaier struck out, Arozarena walked to load the bases, and Mike Brousseau rolled a two-run single to left.