In a game that looked uncomfortably similar to last night’s meltdown, Howie Kendrick sent his teammates back to the locker room with something to celebrate. The Angels battled to a 4-3 lead heading into the eighth behind a gutsy performance from starting pitcher Jason Vargas. But a rough, rough defensive eighth inning brought Vargas’ first victory to a screeching halt.
Mark Trumbo made a mental error, making an unnecessary throw home from first instead of taking a sure out. Andrew Romine later completely missed a routine ground ball, allowing the bases to load with zero outs. Reliever Scott Downs gutted it out, however, and allowed only one run to score, tying the game 4-4.
In the ninth, with a runner on second, Adrian Beltre smoked a sure double to left field off of Ernesto Frieri, only to find it snuffed by a spectacular Mike Trout diving grab.
Two innings later, Howie Kendrick sent a screaming liner over the centerfield wall to give the Angels their second walk-off victory in three days. These April victories count, and the more the Angels can snag, the better, obviously.
Angels 5, Rangers 4
-- Peter Bourjos is really starting to take hold of that leadoff slot. The speedster legged out another infield single, and gave me another unhealthy heart palpitation. Is this only infatuation? Or is there more...?
-- Josh Hamilton went 1 for 5, but the box score doesn’t tell the whole story. The slugger is starting to really swing the bat with more authority, being robbed of an RBI double to deep left in the first inning by a terrific Jeff Baker sliding catch. Baker paid the price, however, with what looks like a bruised left knee. This Angels blogger thinks Hamilton is priming up for a huge month of May.
-- After recording the final out in the seventh, Jason Vargas became only the second Angel starting pitcher this season to complete seven innings. His pitch location and command looked much better in this outing, and looks to start eating innings with the same voracity as last year. The Angels bullpen could really use the diet. (Forgive this terrible food analogy)
-- Speaking of the bullpen, Dane De La Rosa did a nice job rebounding from last night’s rough outing, logging two perfect innings to set up Kendrick 11th inning heroics. With the bullpen stretched so thin, Scioscia had no choice bringing him, and Downs, and Frieri back with no rest. But a job well done holding together a creaky ship the best they could.
-- Luis Jimenez’ defense is miles away better than it was even in spring training. The rookie made a few more nice plays at third, and ignited a late-inning rally with a hit that ultimately fell short. But you’ve just got to love the poise this young man is playing with.
Halo Hero of the Game