ANAHEIM -- For the second consecutive night, the Los Angeles Angels offense couldn't find a way around the Chicago Cubs starting pitcher, and fell to the loss column again, with Tuesday night's game seeing a 6-1 score, with Chicago being victorious.
The Angels offense went just 4-for-32 against Cubs' pitcher, Jon Lester, who finished the night going seven innings, allowing one run on those four hits, and striking out four. The Cubs went a combined 9-for-36 with three home runs being the defining mark in the victory.
The Cubs collected four runs against Andrew Heaney in the third inning along, following a quick shot of paranoia from the home crowd as Heaney left the field for a short time to get repairs on an oddity to his left nostril during the second inning.
Andrew Heaney gets bloody nose after first pitch of second inning
Following a first-pitch strike, Andrew Heaney called to the Angels dugout for a trainer and manager, Mike Scioscia. As speculation raised fear among the Angels faithful, he walked into the dugout with trainer and grabbed a small role of gauze.
"I just got a little bit of a bloody nose," said Heaney. "Threw a pitch, and it kind of spewed down my shirt and down my other sleeve so figured I should probably say something."
Heaney had another bloody nose occurrence happen in Spring Training, due to the dry weather and was forced to wear the rolled up gauze in his left nostril up until his final inning. He did state that it didn't hinder his performance, in which he saw a career-high, seven strikeouts. He finished the night with 16 consecutive strikes thrown before being lifted following the sixth inning, with his club down by four.
"They were being really aggressive, so I had to pitch backwards. I made a couple mistakes early in the count and made a not very good two-strike breaking ball to Ross and then a 2-0 heater to Rizzo. They were just aggressive early, so I had to pitch a little backwards."
Cubs hit two home runs off Andrew Heaney in the third, for four runs
The first pitch of the fourth inning was a fastball sent directly to the left field grand stands for a souvenir, compliments of the bat of Matt Sczcur. Following, the Cubs collected a double, single and additional base runner on a fielder's choice RBI. That left Chicago's slugger, Anthony Rizzo, in a prime spot to open up a lead.
"It's frustrating. I was trying to nibble a little too much. I think it was the third, I got myself into bad counts and whenever I was in good counts, I didn't make pitches and put guys away. I tried to rectify the situation but at that point it was a little too late, I'd already given up four runs."
The third and fourth run came on an 0-2 fastball at the lower hip of Anthony Rizzo, who hit it to dead center for a two-run home run. The Cubs finished the game with six runs, following an additional two-run home run from Dexter Fowler in the seventh inning.
Angels can't capitalize following back-to-back hits early in the seventh inning with the heart of the lineup coming to the plate
With one out, Yunel Escobar doubled on the first pitch he saw and was brought home on a Craig Gentry single. The run was the Angels' first of the season, after 14 and one-third innings of baseball and 50th team plate appearance of the season.
"That's what you're always trying to do," Gentry said. "You're trying to make things happen and especially with 3, 4, 5 coming up, that's huge right there. But guy on the mound is one of the best for a reason so he was able to shut it down and that's what he does."
Following Gentry was the heart of the Angels' lineup in Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, who went on to groundout to shortstop and fly out to center field. There was no outward negativity in the Angels clubhouse following the loss of momentum and loss of a series following Tuesday's game.
"There's no message," said Angels manager, Mike Scioscia. "The guys understand what it's about, they understand we're facing some good pitching and those guys took it to us for two games. These guys are battling out there at the plate and we'll obviously get better and we start to get our legs under us in the batter's box and they'll be fine."
Craig Gentry collected the Angels first RBI of the season, but said there was no reward for attaining the feat in any team pool for who would be the first on the team to bring a run in with their bat.
"[There was no pool] and even if we did there's no chance I would have even been in there," Gentry said jokingly.
BY THE NUMBERS:
- Angels pitching staff did not issue a walk in Tuesday's night's affair. This happened 10 times in 162 games during the 2015 campaign
- Andrew Heaney collected a career-high seven strikeouts
- Angels have gone a combined 7-for-61 at the plate with a .277 team OPS
- Cubs are starting the season at 2-0 for the first time since the 1995 season
- Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester became the first Cubs duo to pitch seven-or-more innings in the first two games of the season since Jon Lieber and Kerry Wood in 2001
- Dexter Fowler has a career .403 (25-for-62) batting average against the Angels in his career, and has kicked off his season going 5-for-8 with a double and home run
PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Jon Lester, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 93/63
Lester kept the offense quiet, allowing just four hits with his only blunder coming as a double allowed early in the sixth inning to Yunel Escobar.
“Obviously I’m in a better place than I was last year coming into the season,” Lester said. “Last year was just so different. There was a lot of hype involved just around myself and a lot of expectations for myself, and you try to go out in that first start and live up to those expectations all at once, as opposed to just letting the season play out."
QUICK BOX SCORE:
Cubs, 6 (2-0); Angels, 1 (0-2)
W - Jon Lester (1-0, 1.50)
L - Andrew Heaney (0-1, 6.00)
Time of Game : 2:34
First Pitch/Temp : 7:07pm PST / 73 degrees
Attendance : 37,042
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