Angels Use 3 Solo Homers to Cool Off MLB-leading Braves with 4-1 Victory; Shohei Ohtani Goes 2 for 3

AP Photo/John Bazemore
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani reacts after being hit by a pitch from Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Charlie Morton in the first inning of a baseball game Monday, July 31, 2023, in Atlanta.

ATLANTA (AP) — Luis Rengifo, Randal Grichuk and Chad Wallach hit solo homers off Charlie Morton, Chase Silseth won his second straight start and the Los Angeles Angels cooled off the major league-leading Atlanta Braves with a 4-1 victory on Monday night.

Matt Olson’s NL-best 36th homer and major league-leading 89th RBI made it 2-1 in the fifth, helping the Braves join the 2019 Minnesota Twins as the only teams with 200 long balls before August. Atlanta began the game with 31 more homers than the Los Angeles Dodgers, the No. 2 team.

The Braves (67-37) were coming off a three-game sweep of Milwaukee in which they scored 29 runs and went deep 11 times.

Los Angeles two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, the 2021 AL MVP and the majors’ homer leader with 39, went 2 for 3. He was hit by a pitch in the first and intentionally walked in the second. He ripped a single 113.3 mph to right in the fourth, singled off A.J. Minter in the seventh and was robbed of a three-run homer by center fielder Michael Harris II in the ninth.

AP Photo/John Bazemore
Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani hits a single in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Monday, July 31, 2023, in Atlanta.

Harris timed his leap at the wall perfectly, raising his glove over the 9-foot wall to bring the ball back. Ohtani drove it 406 feet.

Rengifo drove the game’s third pitch to right-center. Grichuk, making his Angels debut a day after getting acquired with first baseman C.J. Cron in a trade with Colorado, hit an opposite-field shot to right in the fourth. Wallach drove his seventh homer 441 feet to left-center for a 3-1 lead in the sixth.

Cron’s RBI single in the ninth made it 4-1.

The Angels (56-51) have won 10 of 13 and have the AL’s best record since the All-Star break at 11-5. Los Angeles began the night five games back in the AL West and four games back of the final wild-card.

Reynaldo López worked the final 1 2/3 innings to earn his fifth save.

Silseth (3-1) started in place of Griffin Channing, who was scratched with what Channing described as “general soreness” a few hours before the game. Making his third major league start, Silseth gave up three hits and one run in five innings.

Morton (10-9) lost his third straight start, allowing six hits and three runs in six innings.