Once again, the Angels provided us with a Las Vegas-caliber magic show, with a finale that included Mike Trout, with his assistant, C.J. Cron, pulling a victory out of Jean Segura’s glove. Look, this aint no Steve Miller Band blog but yes, this was some Abracadabra shit. Before any of that could go down, the crowd and the fans at home had to sit through the openers, which got a little dicey.
When Ricky Nolasco is on the mound, you know that there’s far too good of a chance that the baseball diamond begins to look like that scene from X-Men: Apocalypse, where we get a bird’s eye view of a mid-western plain and horizon, and numerous missiles being launched from their silos all at once...but, you know, on the baseball diamond it’d be baseballs getting launched, not missiles, of course. Because Nolasco gives up lots of homers.
So, anyway, Ricky Nolasco gave up lots of homers. Two, to be specific, and that’s not normally “lots” but in a close game, and in a Wild Card race, everything’s importance is amplified, and so it is with those damn dingers this dude decides to disastrously dish. He gave up a solo bomb to Nelson Cruz, and a two-run job to Mike Zunino. That Zunino HR made it 3-1 Mariners, after five innings, the lone Halos run coming from an early Jefry Marte solo blizzy. It was rough then, but it’d get worse.
Ricky Nolasco would start the sixth, but he wouldn’t make it out of the sixth. Before he would get yanked, though, he’d give up another run, this time on a double to Nelson Cruz. Oh, Nelson Cruz did a lot of damage in this game, if you didn’t notice already. Luckily, that was it for Nolasco tonight, but the Mariners would still add one more run on the board, when Jarrod Dyson, facing Halos reliever Eduardo Paredes, singled in Cruz and put Seattle up 5-1.
This pleased the baseball gods, and so it was that the Angels would proceed to get their 34th comeback win of the season; it was their seventh comeback when down by 4+ runs, which is good enough for the MLB lead.
The magic began with two outs; that’s pretty much the magic hour for the Halos this entire season, but it’s also been their horrifying witching hour , too. Tonight, they were on the badass side of that coin, as they put four on the board before the Mariners could get that third out. How’d they pull it off?
Martin Maldonado had a single, followed by a Cameron Maybin single, and then Mike Trout got on via walk. They had two outs by the time Trout got that BB, from pop flies from both Kole Calhoun and Cliff Pennington, but they also had the hottest batter of the game coming to the plate: Albert Pujols.
Yes, Albert Pujols was a bruiser, getting himself a 3-hit game and that seventh inning at-bat? He singled in two Halos and put them down 5-3, striking distance achieved. They weren’t done, as C.J. Cron singled the Angels to a 5-4 score, and the cherry on top, Andrelton Simmons doubled, putting the tying run on the board. After seven innings, we had a 5-5 ballgame, it was another masterful and intoxicating comeback.
Now, they just had to go in for the kill. In the eighth, they were mowed down in order by the M’s, but Keynan Middleton was on the mound as the Halos’ eighth inning reliever and he had ice in his veins and fire coming out of his hands. He struck out two, including a defiant K of Cruz, finally he was told to STFD. He would have had a pretty short side, but C.J. Cron pulled a total Croner and couldn’t catch a slick throw from Simmons.
Middleton would eventually get out of the eighth just fine, with 17 pitches, and must have put some adrenaline the dugout, as well, because the Halos were about to pull of their closing bit.
Cameron Maybin actually started things off in the ninth, but he started it off with a strikeout. Mike Trout, however, followed him up by drawing an eagle-eyed walk. Pujols would get his second hit of the evening after Trout, and it put the MVP on second base, and C.J. Cron at the dish. With everybody anticipating power, Cron and Trout instead pulled a pretty nifty magic trick on everybody.
It was just a grounder off of Cron’s bat...but it was a weird grounder, taking an odd hop and it was set to be an obviously awkward catch for Jean Segura. Segura went for it, though, and it did not go well, as it was beefed on the short hop, Segura got toasted by the ball and it went into the outfield. Mike Trout, meanwhile, already knew where he was going, before anybody else on the field or in the stands knew what was even happening. Mike Trout was going home. Ballgame, folks.
That’s exactly where he would end up, crossing the plate and putting the Angels up 6-5 in quite the weird, dramatic way. But with this team, it could only be that way and no other way. Yusmeiro Petit was the closer tonight, and he was good and dispatched the Mariners just fine. Curtains fall, audience goes wild.
Well, the Angels audience. That was a thrillride of a show. I’m puzzled, in the best way possible. This damn team, man. These guys are crazy, and I love it. You do, too. Let’s do it again tomorrow, ok?