Endy Rodríguez hits his 1st major league home run to help the Pirates beat the Angels 3-0

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Sunday, July 23, 2023

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- - Endy Rodríguez appears right at home in the majors after acknowledging he was nervous playing in his first couple of big league games.

The 23-year-old rookie catcher hit his first career homer and was behind the plate as five Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers combined on a five-hitter in a 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.

"It feels great to catch my first shutout and hit my first home run," said Rodríguez, the third-ranked prospect in Pittsburgh's farm system when he was called up Monday.

Rodríguez sent a full-count slider from Gerardo Reyes into the elevated stands in right-center leading off the sixth inning. At 23 years and 57 days old, he became the youngest Pirates catcher to homer since Jason Kendall (23 years, 42 days) on Aug. 7, 1997, against the Marlins.

"Anytime you check a box off I think it's really important," Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. "He got the first hit the other night as a pinch-hitter and then the double last night. But to check that box off I think is a little bit of a sigh of relief."

Rodríguez was hitless in his first seven at-bats but has gone 3 for 9 in his last three games. He also got a valuable learning experience calling the Pirates' seventh shutout of the season despite it being a bullpen game.

"It is more fun," Rodríguez said. "They feel like I got it."

Bryan Reynolds and Carlos Santana had RBI hits in the fifth as Pittsburgh won for only the fourth time in 17 games this month.

Luis Rengifo had two hits for the Angels, who were blanked for the fourth time and had their four-game winning streak snapped.

Shohei Ohtani went 0 for 4 and struck out three times.

Reid Detmers (2-7) struck out nine but didn't retire the Pirates in order in any of his five innings. The left-hander allowed six hits and walked two.

"The strikeouts were high again which is going to elevate your pitch count. You have to get early outs," Angels manager Phil Nevin said. "He's a young pitcher going forward but he has to get better at being efficient with his pitches. He'll tell you the same thing."

Pittsburgh left-hander Ryan Borucki got his first start in four years and went 1 2/3 innings with three strikeouts.

Osvaldo Bido (2-1), originally scheduled to start, came in and went three innings, giving up four hits and a walk with three strikeouts.

Jose Hernandez and Carmen Mlodzinski each worked 1 2/3 innings before David Bednar entered for an eventful ninth inning and earned his 19th save.

Bednar walked Taylor Ward and struck out Mike Moustakas before he hit Matt Thaiss with a curveball and walked Hunter Renfroe on a full count to load the bases.

Bednar then got Trey Cabbage to ground into a game-ending double play. Cabbage hit a comebacker directly to Bednar, who threw home for the forceout. Rodríguez relayed to first to end the game.

The Angels also had the bases loaded with no outs in the fourth, but couldn't get anything across. Thaiss lined into a double play and Renfroe struck out with runners at the corners.

With one out in the fifth, Connor Joe lined a double to right-center off Detmers and scored on Reynolds' single up the middle. Santana's RBI double to left-center made it 2-0.


Angels outfielder Mickey Moniak has the majors' longest current hitting streak at 13 games after his base hit leading off the fourth. Moniak, who is 20 for 51 during the streak, has the big leagues' longest current run after Pittsburgh's Jared Triolo went 0 for 4 to end his streak at 13 games.


Angels: SS Zach Neto was scratched from the lineup due to lower back tightness. ... 3B Anthony Rendon will be shut down for at least the next two weeks after an MRI revealed a deep bone bruise in his shin. Rendon was placed on the injured list July 14 (retroactive to July 11) due to a left oblique strain.


Pirates: All-Star RHP Mitch Keller (9-5, 3.73 ERA) looks to bounce back after allowing eight runs in six innings last Tuesday against Cleveland.

Angels: LHP Tyler Anderson (4-2, 5.17) is 3-2 in his last eight starts following seven straight no-decisions.


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP--Sports

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