Fletcher’s hit streak reaches 26 games, Angels pound M’s 9-4

Jul 17, 2021, 9:38 AM | Updated: 11:00 pm

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — David Fletcher is a soft-spoken middle infielder and a sixth-round draft choice who has sneaked up on stardom during four increasingly impressive seasons with the Los Angeles Angels.

Fletcher is sitting on the second-longest hitting streak in Angels history after yet another monster offensive game. His talents are unlikely to surprise anyone again after this incredible five-week stretch, and that’s how his manager and teammates think it should be.

“No doubt, he is a confident young man,” Angels skipper Joe Maddon said. “I think there’s Joe Namath, and then there’s David Fletcher. Two tremendous lore-like heroes. He’s got that thing. There’s nothing on that baseball field that he doesn’t think he can do. The lore of David Fletcher is beginning.”

Fletcher extended his streak to 26 games with three doubles and five RBIs, and Taylor Ward homered and drove in three runs in Los Angeles’ 9-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.

Fletcher wasted zero time extending the Angels’ longest hitting streak in 23 years, doubling to left field on Yusei Kikuchi’s first pitch.

The hit broke Fletcher’s tie with Rod Carew’s 25-game streak in 1982. Only Garret Anderson’s 28-game string in 1998 is ahead of him in Angels history. Fletcher matched the longest streak in the majors since Wilson Ramos’ 26-gamer in 2019, and that was the longest since Freddie Freeman’s 30-game streak in 2016.

Fletcher then cleared the bases in the second inning with a powerful double to center. He added a two-run double off the left field wall in the eighth, boosting his average to .454 (49 for 108) during the streak with 13 doubles and 21 RBIs.

“There’s nobody I’ve played with that’s more confident than he is, and he backs it up,” Angels starter Alex Cobb said. “He’s just fun to be around. He’s got this energy about him that he’s just going to get the job done, and that’s what he looks like when he’s playing. It’s not always going to be pretty, but he’s going to get the job done. You can’t play defense on him. He hits everything.”

Cobb (7-3) yielded five hits over 6 2/3 innings in another strong start for the Angels, who have won seven of 11. Los Angeles compensated for a four-strikeout night by major league home run leader Shohei Ohtani with homers by Jack Mayfield and Taylor Ward, who also doubled and singled.

Mitch Haniger hit a three-run homer off Alex Claudio in the ninth for Seattle, matching his career high with four RBIs while reaching base in his 17th consecutive game.

Kikuchi (6-5) struggled against almost everyone but Ohtani in his first start back from the break, yielding nine hits and seven runs with seven strikeouts over five innings. Kikuchi also gave up five runs in a loss to the Yankees right before the break.

“These past two games, the main thing is that my fastball velocity was just not there in both those games,” Kikuchi said through his translator. “I think that’s the only problem, honestly. I’m just looking forward to making the proper adjustment.”

Cobb walked four and struck out six in a resilient effort, maintaining his position as a bright spot in the Angels’ dim rotation.

He has won six of his last nine starts, and his ERA dropped below 4.00 for the first time since May during this victory. Cobb is the first Angels pitcher to win five consecutive home starts since Jered Weaver in 2013.

Los Angeles had a 5-0 lead before Seattle finally scored in the fifth on Haniger’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly, but Cobb limited the damage to a run.

Ward then slugged his eighth homer in the bottom half, a two-run shot.

“In those spots in many games this year, we’ve got the big hit to get us back in the game or extend the lead,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “They made some really good plays tonight, and it just wasn’t our time.”

REVENGE SERVED LUKEWARM

Mayfield put the Angels up 5-0 in the fourth with a solo homer, his first for the Angels in two stints with the club. The Mariners designated Mayfield for assignment last month just 11 games after they claimed him off waivers from Los Angeles, which claimed him right back.

Mayfield added a double in the eighth.

SHOHEI DOWN DAY

Ohtani went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts against Kikuchi, his fellow AL All-Star and Hanamaki Higashi High School graduate, after going 4 for 9 in their previous major league meetings.

Ohtani finished 0 for 5 in his first four-strikeout game since Aug. 30, 2019.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mariners: OF Jake Fraley was scratched from the starting lineup again due to illness.

Angels: All-Star Jared Walsh fouled a ball off the ground and into his face in the seventh inning, but shook it off.

UP NEXT

Patrick Sandoval (2-3, 3.70 ERA) pitches for Los Angeles against Logan Gilbert (3-2, 3.51), who makes his 11th career start in the series finale. The Mariners have won Gilbert’s last eight starts. Sandoval took a loss in Seattle last week despite throwing a career-best seven innings of two-run ball.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Large advertisements adorn buildings and electronic billboards leading up to the NFL Super Bowl LVI...
Associated Press

Fox sells out Super Bowl ads: crypto out, alcohol in

NEW YORK (AP) — Fox says it has sold out all of its Super Bowl LVII ad space as of the end of January. The big game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles takes place on Sunday. The Super Bowl is advertising’s biggest stage, with advertisers jockeying to get their products in […]
1 day ago
Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior, left, in action against Mallorca's goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic durin...
Associated Press

Vinícius Júnior again targeted by racist insults in Spain

MADRID (AP) — The hate attacks against Vinícius Júnior continued in Spain over the weekend, with the Brazil forward again being targeted by racist insults in a league match. The Spanish league said Monday it will investigate the latest attacks after television images showed someone calling him a monkey during Real Madrid’s 1-0 loss at […]
1 day ago
Italy's Federica Brignone speeds down the course during the super G portion of an alpine ski, women...
Associated Press

Brignone leads combined race at worlds; Shiffrin 0.96 behind

MERIBEL, France (AP) — Italian skier Federica Brignone posted the fastest time in the super-G portion of the women’s combined event Monday on the opening day of the world championships, leading defending champion Mikaela Shiffrin by almost a second. Racing under blue skies, Brignone found the fastest line on the Roc de Fer course as […]
1 day ago
FILE - Fans welcome Manchester City players before the start of the English Premier League soccer m...
Associated Press

Man City accused of misleading Premier League over finances

Manchester City was accused by the Premier League on Monday of providing misleading information about its finances over a nine-year period when the club was attempting to establish itself as a force in English and European soccer following its takeover by Abu Dhabi’s ruling family. The explosive development came at the end of a four-year […]
1 day ago
Field hockey players of a local club attend a training session, in Karachi, Pakistan, Sunday, Nov. ...
Associated Press

Sports pitch for level playing field in cricket-mad Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — On Islamabad’s outskirts, burly men bind together in a scrum on a rugby pitch that has seen better days. The sign bearing the club’s name is worn. The floodlights are too costly to use, given high electricity prices and the paltry $135 total that the club earns in membership fees every month. […]
1 day ago
NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. (19) poses for a photo with the championship trophy after...
Associated Press

Truex wins NASCAR’s sloppy return to Los Angeles Coliseum

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Martin Truex Jr. won NASCAR’s return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for its season-opening exhibition race — a sloppy Sunday night extravaganza in which the Wiz Khalifa halftime show might have been the most entertaining part of the event. Truex took the lead with 25 laps to go in the […]
1 day ago
Fletcher’s hit streak reaches 26 games, Angels pound M’s 9-4