Sure, the Los Angeles Angels might be completely out of postseason contention, but they still needed a win in the worst way. The Halos entered Thursday's series opener against the Guardians losers of six straight and nine of their last ten. They had just eight wins and 25 losses since the trade deadline and had just three wins at home since August 1.
The start of the game was par for the course for this Angels team of late. Shohei Ohtani was on the bench once again, Mickey Moniak was a late scratch, and then their hottest hitter, Luis Rengifo, left the game in the bottom of the first injuring himself in the on-deck circle. It seemed like it was going to be another lost night.
The Angels were held without a run through six but the trio of Jhonathan Diaz, Andrew Wantz, and Davis Daniel did impressive work to hold the Guardians scoreless as well in what was a bullpen game for the Halos.
LA Angels find a way to snap long losing streak and put a huge dent in the Guardians' playoff hopes
With the Angels' bullpen in rough shape, Aaron Loup came on for the seventh and did what Aaron Loup does. Allow runs. He gave up two in the top of the seventh to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead. Fortunately, the Angels found a way to respond.
They faced off against former teammate Matt Moore for the first time since he was claimed off waivers by the Guardians, and the Angels scratched a run against him. Left-handed hitting Trey Cabbage drew a leadoff walk against the lefty Moore, then stole second, and Mickey Moniak's replacement, Brett Phillips, lined an RBI single to plate Cabbage.
Unfortunately, the Angels couldn't score more before the bottom of the ninth, but they were within striking distance and were set to face a closer who had already blown a save against them this season in Emmanuel Clase.
Chad Wallach lined a big one-out double to right to set the table, and after another hit from Brett Phillips, Kyren Paris, the Angels young rookie playing in his seventh MLB game, lined a base hit to tie the game. It was Paris' second hit in 16 at-bats in the majors, and none bigger.
The Angels had bases loaded with one out and were a fly ball away from winning when Cleveland walked Nolan Schanuel intentionally. This gave Brandon Drury, their best healthy hitter, a chance to win it. Drury failed to come through, grounding out, so there were two outs with the bases loaded and Randal Grichuk, a player the Angels have tried and failed to waive multiple times, coming up.
The Angels found a way to snap their six-game losing streak on a walk-off single from Randal Grichuk. That win gave the Angels their ninth in 34 tries since the deadline, but more importantly, set the Guardians 6.5 games back of the first place Twins. The Angels have a chance to play spoiler this weekend, and it looks like they're taking that competition seriously.