MIAMI — The Angels and their struggling offense ran into one of baseball’s best pitchers on Tuesday.
The result was predictable.
The Angels managed just three hits in a 2-1 loss to the Miami Marlins and Cy Young front-runner Sandy Alcantara.
Including the three-game sweep over the weekend in Houston, the Angels have now gone four straight games with three hits or less, which is a first in franchise history. They hit .094 and scored five runs in the four games.
The Angels didn’t have a baserunner until Luis Rengifo’s single with two outs in the fifth. He was stranded at third when Max Stassi struck out.
Their other hit was a Mike Trout infield single in the seventh, snapping an 0-for-16 skid for Trout. Trout was forced at second, but then Shohei Ohtani stole second and went to third on a fly ball. He was stranded there when Jared Walsh struck out.
The Angels rallied in the ninth, after Alcantara was out, with a Michael Stefanic hit and two walks, but they still couldn’t come up with a hit with runners in scoring position. They settled for a sacrifice fly.
All told, the Angels added to their MLB-leading strikeout total by punching out 11 times, including 10 in eight innings against Alcantara.
The Marlins’ right-hander improved his ERA to 1.82. He’s also pitched a major league-leading 123-1/3 innings.
Angels right-hander Noah Syndergaard couldn’t keep up with Alcantara, even though he allowed just two runs in five innings. He gave up solo homers to Garrett Cooper in the third and Bryan De La Cruz in the fifth.
Cooper hit a fastball over the inside corner. De La Cruz hit a hanging slider on an 0-and-1 pitch.
Otherwise, Syndergaard’s biggest issue was that the Marlins fouled off 22 pitches, which ran up his pitch count. He was pulled after throwing 92 pitches.
He did a nice job to work out of a first-inning jam, stranding runners at second and third when he struck out Avisail Garcia and got Jesus Sanchez on a flyout.
Syndergaard also caught something of a break because the Marlins – one of baseball’s best base-stealing teams – were without their top two threats. Jon Berti, who leads the majors with 25 steals, got the day off. Jazz Chisholm is on the injured list.
More to come on this story.