Angels 9 Rangers 6
It was looking like another one of those games, where one of those Bad Innings came along and snakebit all the work the Halos intended to do against the rival Texas Rangers, and one where the lineup would sit by idly as the pitching staff took a couple backhanded slaps to the face. Then, the Angels switched gears; it was winning time. There would be no sweep in Arlington this weekend, and it was all due to the bats and the bullpen.
Today's contest was pretty much a nail-biter coming into the fifth inning, with the Rangers up 4-1 and starter Garrett Richards already knocked out of the game. I would have to guess in most cases where this has happened in the past, the Angels went on to lose. They were relentless, however, with the lumber and in the fifth they charged back, and then some.
With Cole Hamels on the mound, Mike Trout made things 4-2 with a groundout that scored Cliff Pennington, and then it was C.J. Cron with the big hit later in the inning, a two-run single to right field. We had a tie ballgame, and finally some things were going right for the Angels in this series. Good situational hitting will do that for your team, go figure. In the sixth, a Yunel Escobar sac fly would give the Angels a 5-4 lead, and a bummer of a Sunday had made the full transition to pretty great Sunday fun day in just the span of two innings, the Angels turning the three run deficit into a one run 5-4 lead.
After that, the rest of the Angels wanted a piece of the battered Rangers, and our dudes just continued unloading runs on them. But before we get to that, a bit about the game BEFORE the Angels really woke up. Richards had a curious outing, having one really, really bad inning(the fourth) where the Rangers sent 8 batters to the plate and they scored 3 runs. The kicker was it shouldn't have even been more than a blip on the scorecard; Richards blew an easy throw to second early on in the side that should have been a routine double play. This allowed the inning to keep on going, and when it rains in Globe Life, it pours.
Just like Hector Santiago and Matt Shoemaker before him, a bad inning was set to put a bow made out of petrified dog barf on this weekend sweep from the Rangers, but luckily that big fifth/sixth inning swing came along and the team can head on to Milwaukee with some semblance of dignity. Richards would just go 4 IP, with 4 runs although just one earned, all on just 79 pitches...that last note is the weirdest part. Quite a low pitch total on the day, and we learned after the game that it was due to dehydration. Not what you'd want to deal with but oh well.
With that early exit, the hitters in the Angels lineup could catch fire all they want, but if the relief pitching didn't step up, then it'd be a moot point. Luckily...for today, at least...they were up to the challenge. We saw a great combination of Greg Mahle, Jose Alvarez, Mike Morin, Fernando Salas and Joe Smith. From the fifth to the ninth, the Rangers got 7 hits and just two runs(both off of Joe Smith in the ninth). Bullpen games can be as scary as they come with this group Mike Scioscia has right now, but they were staunch competitors in today's contest, give them props.
Sometimes games can get pretty insane in the Rangers home, so it's good to have as many insurance runs as possible. The Angels were very cognizant of this fact and even after they got that 5-4 lead, they just kept rubbing the Rangers' face in their own carpet.
In the eighth, you had a Geovany Soto homer, a Kole Calhoun RBI single and a Mike Trout RBI double. In the ninth, a Shane Robinson groundout scored Cron. The hits just kept coming, but with the way the Texas terribles had been treating their out of town guests this weekend, the gleeful beatdown was much deserved. At the end of the carnage, the once 4-1 Rangers sweep story became a 9-6 Angels win, lighting a neglected halo up back home at the Big A before they get on a plane for some interleague play against the Brewers.
Five different batters with a multi-hit day, great bullpen usage and performance, situational hitting like bosses and even some nice defense sprinkled throughout. No sweep today. This may be enough to temporarily make me forget about how badly they got beaten in the previous two games, and instead focus on Milwaukee, and the month of May turnaround that the Angels are so good at. Emphasis on "may".