MINNEAPOLIS – Patrick Sandoval knew history was within his grasp. The young Los Angeles Angels left-hander looked up at the scoreboard after every inning to confirm his work: no hits allowed.
His teammates also let him know what was at stake, by staying as far away from him as possible in the dugout.
In charge the whole way, Sandoval had his no-hit bid broken up with one out in the ninth inning on a soft double by rookie Brent Rooker as the Angels beat the Minnesota Twins 2-1 Saturday night.
“All of a sudden, I got shunned,” Sandoval said. “After the seventh, I came in and I was like, ’Everyone is really far away from me.”'
Sandoval, a 24-year-old who began the game with a 3-13 career record, struck out a career-high 13. He was vying for the 12th no-hitter in Angels history — Nolan Ryan threw four of his record seven no-hitters for them.
There have already been seven no-hitters in the majors this season. The big-league record of eight was set in 1884, the first year overhand pitching was permitted.
The Twins hadn’t come close to a hit until Rooker, who fanned his first three times up, flared an opposite-field fly that fell just inside the line in right.
“Definitely one that I needed, one the team needed,” Rooker said. “That guy obviously did a really good job all night executing pitches. Obviously not my best swing, but it ended up working out. Just something I needed to fall.”
Sandoval (3-4) smiled after the ball fell, retired the next batter and then was pulled after 108 pitches. He walked one and hit two.
“He’ll be back in that situation again someday,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “When he gets everything going on like he had tonight, you could see more of that.”
Closer Raisel Iglesias allowed an RBI double to Josh Donaldson before getting his 21st save in 25 chances.
José Berríos (7-5) allowed two unearned runs in seven innings in perhaps his final start for Minnesota. Berríos, a potential trade candidate after being unable to come to terms on a contract extension, allowed three hits and struck out four.
“I was joking today before the game, ‘Oh, I don’t want to pitch tonight. I don’t want to go to the ballpark,’” Berríos said. “In a funny way. We are good in Minnesota. We are enjoying it so far, our stay here. I want to keep doing that for hopefully six, seven, eight more years. I don’t know.”
But, in somewhat unexpected fashion, this was Sandoval’s night.
He had made just 26 career starts in the majors. Acquired from the Houston Astros in 2018 in a trade for catcher Martin Maldonado, Sandoval has shown an ability to get swings and misses, but he displayed the knack for shutting a team down on Saturday.
Sandoval kept the struggling Twins at bay with a combination of his sinker, changeup and slider.
Minnesota, who traded Nelson Cruz to Tampa Bay this week in the first of a likely sell-off situation, hardly challenged for a hit against Sandoval.
“One of the best starts I’ve seen in a long time,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He was in control of everything that he did tonight.”
After Kepler was hit by a pitch with one out in the fourth, Sandoval got Donaldson to ground into a double play. Miguel Sanó reached base on a throwing error by shortstop José Iglesias to start the fifth, but Sandoval struck out the next three batters.
After getting out of another jam in the eighth after hitting Trevor Larnach with a pitch, Sandoval screamed out loud while walking on the mound. Over the final few innings, Sandoval sat alone at the end of the Los Angeles bench.
“I thought I handled it pretty well, honestly,” Sandoval said. “I thought I’d be freaking out.”
The Angels plated their two runs in the first off Berríos.
Shohei Ohtani doubled and came around on an error by Sanó, who appeared to lose the throw from second baseman Jorge Polanco in the sun. Justin Upton, who reached on the error, scored on a double by Iglesias.
TIME FOR GROWTH
Maddon credited sticking with Sandoval for an extra inning in his last outing as a prelude to Sandoval taking another step on Saturday.
“Today’s game, we’re always aware of pulling guys early for various reasons,” Maddon said. “But if you want a young pitcher to really be able to develop mentally – I’m not even talking physically, mentally – you got to let them out there for a bit. That what I think was the residue of his last time out.”
Twins: IF/OF Luis Arraez was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right knee strain. He sustained the injury in Chicago on July 19. OF Jake Cave was returned from his rehab assignment with Triple-A St. Paul and reinstated from the 60-day injured list. OF Kyle Garlick (sports hernia) was moved to the 60-day injured list. … CF Byron Buxton (left hand fracture) played catch on the field before the game, but he’s still wearing a splint on his injured hand. There is still no timetable for his return.
RHP Jamie Barria (0-0, 10.50) will be recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to start Sunday’s series finale for Los Angeles. RHP Bailey Ober (1-1, 5.45 ERA) will start for Minnesota. Ober allowed three earned runs in five innings in his last outing against the Chicago White Sox.
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