For all the naysayers who were already into panic mode after the Los Angeles Angels were dominated in a two-game sweep by the Chicago Cubs. People were also worried as Mike Trout and Albert Pujols were a combined 0-15 with five strikeouts in those two games. Things could be a lot worse as teams like the Diamondbacks and the Cubs have lost key players already this season. The Cubs probably can still make a World Series despite losing Kyle Schwarber for the season. Arizona on the other hand lost one its budding stars in A.J. Pollock for at least three months with an elbow injury and that could turn what was a promising season into another disappointment.
The Angels are not without injuries as C.J. Wilson is still out indefinitely as he recovers from off-season elbow surgery and Andrew Heaney just went on the DL with an arm injury and could be lost for a while. However, Tyler Skaggs is just about ready to return which will lessen the blow if Heaney is out for an extended period of time. Now Thursday night the Angels and their fans need something good to cheer about and they got just that last night.
Albert Pujols and Mike Trout both had their first two hits of the season and Pujols’ hit ended the game as he roped a bases-loaded single to the gap in left-center field for a game winning hit in a 4-3 victory sending the Angel Stadium crowd into a frenzy.
The Angels fell behind 2-0 after a Robinson Chinros homer in the top of the third. Yunel Escobar helped bring the Angels back as he cracked his first homer of the season in the third making it 2-1 Texas. In the bottom of the 5th the Angels threatened again as they had first and third with two outs and Escobar again through with a single to tie the game at followed by an RBI double by Craig Gentry which gave the Angels their first lead of the season at 3-2.
Texas tied the game up on an Elvis Andrus sacrifice fly, setting the stage for Pujols dramatic hit. After the Angels failed to score in the bottom of the 8th despite having bases loaded with no outs. The team would not quit. Johnny Giavotella singled and Escobar walked this time moving him to second. After a Carlos Perez ground out moved runners to 2nd and 3rd Mike Trout was walked intentionally to load the bases for Pujols. The Machine came through with his fourth walk-off hit of his Angels a deep drive to left-center that landed on the warning track.
Lost in all the excitement was stellar performance by lefty Hector Santiago who pitched six innings giving up three runs, two of which were earned on four hits while striking out seven. Jose Alvarez, Fernando Salas, Joe Smith and Huston Street provides three innings of hitless relief to back-up Santiago’s effort. Street got the win in relief.
A win in dramatic fashion or any win for that matter was just what the doctor ordered for the Angels to put some life back into the team after two bad losses to the Cubs. Now with the monkey off their backs (not the rally monkey) , the Angels can focus on playing ball the way they know how to. Honestly it really wasn’t that bad as many teams start the season with much longer losing streaks than two games, but nonetheless it is nice to see a crooked number in the win column rather than a goose egg.
To steal a line from fictitious manager Lou Brown from the movie Major League II.
“Ok, We won a game yesterday. If we win today, that’s two in a row and if we win tomorrow, it’s called a winning streak… It has happened before!!”