It was Thursday, August 18. The Halos manage four hits and no runs through 8 innings and are down 1-0. Sitting in that stadium that night was downright painful and many of the announced crowd of over 41,000 had sleepwalked their fanny fandoms out of there and I could not blame them in the least.
Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis had walked only 2 and struck out 7 in 7 innings and Mark Lowe had held the pipsqueak popoutters at bay in the 8th. Every Rangers fan had strutted his stuff when the team acquired reliever Mike Adams in a late season move designed squarely for the postseason. When he came out of the bullpen, the numbers were overwhelming and the Angels had basically rolled the white flag up on the season.
They were about to be shut out 1-0 and down 8 games to the Rangers.
In the scheme of things, since the Angels did not win their division and the Rangers did, a contest that did not amount to ultimate victory may seem like an odd choice. In a down year though, this game's dramatic outcome led to a mini-hot streak that provided meaningful games in September. When you are 1.5 games back on September 10, your team has given you the gift of contention. And the Angels were, in fact, that close that late in the season, precisely because on August 18, they did not fall to 8 behind. They climbed up to 6 back and followed three losses with six straight wins.
Torii Hunter hit a 1-0 single off of Mike Adams to lead off the bottom of the 9th inning. Rookie Mark Trumbo approached the plate and all that was going through my mind was how the team could stay out of the double play. It was that kind of 35-inning Rangers-led whupping that I had sat through that had pulled my brain so far from faith. Trumbo hit a 1-1 pitch into the leftfield seats and made another month's worth of baseball matter.
The Angels hang tight in the race, forcing the Rangers to use their pitching staff and relievers in games that a team can cakewalk around when their nearest competitor is 8 games back. That Texas bullpen whizzed away some leads in October after lots of August and September mileage on those arms, arms whose hands are not wearing a ring because of one man's walk off bomb. It was THE Trumbomb and it haunted the Rangers all the way to their bitter end. over the cliff and into the Gulf. Boom. Bye.