Down 5 to 1 with only six outs to go the Los Angeles Angels found themselves on the verge of a 10 game road losing streak. However, as they have done many times this season these Angels did not give up, and when the dust had cleared the road losing streak was over with a thrilling 7-6 comeback victory over the stunned Kansas City Royals.
Los Angeles Angels pitcher Garrett Richards tried to keep the team close allowing three runs in six innings, but again the offense could not get on track as Richards left the game trailing 3-1. Cory Rasmus for the second time in less than a week threw gasoline on the fire when he entered the game out of the bullpen giving up two more runs to the Royals in the 7th inning to put the Los Angeles Angels down 5-1. In the 8th inning Mike Trout started the comeback by lacing a double to center scoring Kole Calhoun to cut the Royals lead to 5-2. Two batters later David Murphy drove in Trout with an RBI-Ground Out to make 5-3.
On to the 9th inning where the Los Angeles Angels had to face Kansas City’s ace reliever Greg Holland. Holland would be anything but an ace tonight as David Dejesus hit an opposite field single to start the rally. Carlos Perez then followed it with a walk. A Holland wild pitch allowed the runners to move up to 2nd and 3rd with no outs and Angels pinch hitter C.J. Cron came through again by lacing an opposite field double down the right field line tying the game at 5. However, the Angels were still not done as Johnny Giavotella lays down a perfect bunt up the first baseline and avoids the Eric Hosmer tag to reach first safely. Yes this is the same Giavotella that struggled to get a bunt down in Sunday’s extra-inning victory. Calhoun came through off Holland as he hit a ball down the right field line into the corner to drives in both Giavotella and pinch-runner Shane Victorino to give the Angels a 7-5 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth Angels came out in what had to be the weirdest defensive alignment this season. Due to an injury to Erick Aybar the Angels had no shortstop left after Cron pinch hit for Taylor Featherston, so manager Mike Scioscia had to get creative with his infield. Albert Pujols moved from first to third. Third baseman Connor Gillaspie moved from third to second, Giavotella moved from 2nd base to shortstop. Calhoun moved from right field to first base and Victorino entered the game in right field. For good measure the Angels also brought in a new pitcher Huston Street to try and close things down. Despite giving up a mammoth home run to Hosmer, Street was able to record the final three outs and the comeback was complete.
The victory pulled the Angels within 1.5 games of the idle Houston Astros in the AL West standings. Friday the Angels will send Jered Weaver back to the mound for his second start since returning from the disabled list.
“What will be most important for Jered is his next couple of starts after Sunday,” Ebel said. “He had a lot of adrenaline today (Sunday), but we will see how he feels and how effective he is the next time he takes the mound on Friday against Kansas City.”
Hopefully this type of gut-check will build so momentum that will carry the Angels over the next few days in Kansas City before they return home on Monday.
Huston Street (16) celebrates with catcher Carlos Perez (58) after closing out the Angels 7-6 victory over the Royals Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports