Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Moustakas reacts after hitting a three-run homer in the seventh inning of a game against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 15, 2023 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM – The Angels ended their losing streak in memorable fashion. Now they have to see if this becomes more than an isolated highlight in a disappointing season.
After trailing by six runs in the seventh inning and three runs in the ninth, the Angels rallied for a 13-12, 10-inning win over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.
“Obviously it gives us a lot of momentum going forward, a total team effort,” said Mike Moustakas, whose three-run homer in the seventh tied the game. “A lot happened throughout the game. And we found a way to come back and win as a team. I think that proves to all of us in this clubhouse that we can do it. is very funny, the way it all ended.
The Angels scored the winning run on a throwing error from shortstop Grae Kessinger, who was trying to convert a double play on a ground fly hit by Taylor Ward. Trey Cabbage, the Angels’ auto-runner, went home with the winning run as the pitch escaped.
Closer Angels Carlos Estévez blocked the Astros’ auto-runner early in the inning. He got an assist from right fielder Hunter Renfroe, who landed a nice reception on a foul ball as he leaned into the stands.
It was the first time since Aug. 19, 2021 that the Angels erased a six-point deficit to win. In that game in Detroit, they actually overcame a franchise-record eight-point deficit.
Manager Phil Nevin used the comeback as proof that his players still have a fight, despite coming into the game on a 1-10 streak that seriously dented their playoff hopes as the trade deadline neared. of August 1.
“If anyone ever says their team don’t care, don’t fight, don’t play hard, I’ll fight whoever says that,” Nevin said. “They do. They prepare to win. They come and win every day. It’s been a tough time. We haven’t come out on top. We have another game tomorrow. We’ll enjoy it a bit. But definitely “, having one like that could go a long way. I don’t know. But it sure feels good right now.”
The Angels were down six runs in the seventh before matching it with home runs from Zach Neto and Moustakas, and they trailed by three runs again when they came in to strike late in the ninth.
Shohei Ohtani started the inning against Ryan Pressley, closer to the Astros, with his 33rd home run of the season.
Ward and Mickey Moniak then distinguished themselves, the third success of the evening for each of them. Eduardo Escobar followed with his second hit of the night, loading the bases.
A point scored on a passed ball. One out later, Renfroe singled to tie the game, but Matt Thaiss struck out and pinch hitter Cabbage hit a flyout, sending the game into extra innings.
The thrilling comeback continued a streak in which Angels hitters actually did a good job replacing injured midrange hitters like Mike Trout, Brandon Drury and Anthony Rendon.
Through the first six games of the losing streak, the Angels had scored 4.2 ppg, but the problem was they allowed 8.5 ppg.
“Our offense is good,” Nevin said. “Look at the league leaders. We are in the top five in all categories: home runs, OPS, runs scored. We are eighth in all baseball in runs scored. We’re doing our part to that end, without a lot of bodies recently. We need to throw better.
The pattern continued Saturday night.
Starter Reid Detmers allowed four runs in six innings, then right-hander Chris Devenski allowed five runs in the seventh, putting the Angels down 9-3.
Just when it looked like they were headed for an ugly loss, the batters came to life.
In the bottom of the seventh, however, Thaiss walked and then Neto hit a two-run homer, his first hit since coming off the disabled list a day earlier. It was also his second homer against Astros All-Star starter Framber Valdez.
That was it for Valdez, who also gave up a three-run homer to Luis Rengifo in the second inning.
The Astros brought in Ryne Stanek, and he walked Ward and gave up singles to Moniak and Escobar, producing another run. Moustakas then hit a three-run homer, tying the game 9-9.
Left-hander Matt Moore gave up a game-breaking two-run homer to Chas McCormick in the eighth inning. It was Moore’s first game after missing more than a month with a strained oblique.
The Astros then scored an unearned run against Tucker Davidson in the top of the ninth, extending their lead to three points.
At that point, it looked like the Angels were going to extend their trivia streak, with Detmers suffering the loss after allowing four runs in six innings. He allowed two runs on a walk and two hits in third, but his real problem came in fourth. Detmers retired the first two batters of the inning before walking the next two, No. 7 hitter Yainer Diaz and No. 8 hitter McCormick. Detmers then hooked a curveball to Martin Maldonado, who fired it just inside the left field line for a two-run brace, giving the Astros a 4-3 lead.
“To walk the seventh and eighth batter and then leave a pitch for Maldy, he’s gonna tell you the same thing, I’m not picking on him, being an elite pitcher that he can be with his stuff, those things it’s not gonna happen,” Nevin said. “They couldn’t happen.”
Detmers struck out the last seven batters he faced to keep the Angels in the game before Devenski gave up five runs on five hits in the seventh. Devenski had a 3.10 ERA on June 29, but he has allowed at least one run in his last five games.
Despite the restless night on the mound, the Angels kept knocking.
“It’s a good formation, a great formation,” Moustakas said. “When we get our guys back, it will be even better. We have to go out there and keep finding ways to score more points, keep finding ways to win football games. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how it’s done. As long as you roll a W, that’s a good thing.