What do the LA Angels do for an encore? After Sunday’s miraculous seven-run 9th inning comeback Tuesday night’s series opener versus Texas couldn’t live up to the drama of the previous game. Could it? The answer was an emphatic YES!
Just like on Sunday the LA Angels fell behind early and things looked bleak going into the seventh inning as Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels had stymied the Halos for six innings shutting them out on only three hits as Texas led 5-0. However, so far early this season no deficit seems to be too big for the Halos.
In the seventh inning the Angels finally got on the board thanks to Jefry Marte‘s first homer of the season making the score 5-1 Rangers. The Angels were not done as in the bottom of the eighth Cameron Maybin drew the Angels a little closer with an RBI-Double driving in Mike Trout to close the gap to three.
This set the stage for another dramatic ninth inning. Danny Espinosa, who was a hero in the Angels first win of the season a week ago with a dramatic 9th inning homer in Oakland a week ago, came to the plate and drove a Sam Dyson pitch over the left-centerfield wall for an opposite-field homer to bring the Angels within two.
With one out Yunel Escobar hit a one-out double down the left field line. One batter later with the Angels down to their last strike AL MVP Mike Trout slashed an opposite field double to pull the Angels within one bringing up one of Sunday’s heroes Albert Pujols. Pujols lined a single to left field and Trout raced home with the tying run.
In the top of the 10th the Rangers Mike Napoli made a bid for a go-ahead home run, but Mike Trout said ‘No, no, no’ as he leaped at the wall and robbed Napoli bring chants of MVP from what was left of the 34,044 fans. Cam Bedrosian wasn’t sharp in the 10th, but the Angels continued to save him. Bedrosian got Rougned Odor to line out to Marte.
Late inning substitution Carlos Perez came up big with the help of Andrelton Simmons as he threw out Delino Deshields to end the top of the 10th. In the bottom of the 10th after a lead-off walk to Maybin, Espinosa got his third hit of the game, a single to right to move Maybin to third.
Then Angels manager Mike Scioscia pulled a rabbit out of his hat calling for a safety squeeze and Carlos Perez laid down a perfect bunt and Maybin streaked down the line scoring without a throw as Napoli watched and prayed that the bunt would go foul. The Angels mobbed both Maybin and Perez dousing the latter with powder (a new walk-off tradition).
Not to be lost in all the amazing things about Tuesday night’s win was the work of the bullpen. After Skaggs gave up five runs in five innings of work surrendering three home runs, the Angels bullpen held the Rangers scoreless for the last five innings of the game on only two hits. Bud Norris did the bulk of the work pitching three innings of one hit ball with three strikeouts. Yusmeiro Petit pitched a scoreless ninth and Bedrosian despite being hit hard got the victory after pitching a scoreless 10th inning.
The win broke a lot of streaks. First, it was the Angels first extra inning win in 184 games dating back to September 19th, 2015. It was also the first time in club history that the Angels have won back-to-back games where they have trailed by five or more runs after six innings. It was the first time since 1991 that any team has won back-to-back game after trailing by five or more runs entering the seventh inning. The 1991 Yankees were last to accomplish this. Finally, the Angels 6-2 start is the Angels best start to a season in 49 years.
All in all this victory is another example of the resilience of this 2017 Angels team. This marks the third 9th inning comeback of the season. The Rally Monkey is working overtime, he may deserve a raise before the season is over.
One thing is for sure the thought of leaving a game early to beat traffic (a SoCal unofficial tradition), may have fans questioning themselves more than ever this season. So sit back, fasten your seat bels, and hold on tight, this season is going to be fun.