Low man on ros­ter de­liv­ers a high

Feather­ston, who sel­dom plays, gets a walk- off sin­gle, the first of his ca­reer.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Mike DiGiovanna

It didn’t dawn on Tay­lor Feather­ston un­til well af­ter he dunked his 13th- in­ning sin­gle into shal­low right field to give the An­gels a 2- 1 vic­tory over the Hous­ton Astros, sur­vived a vi­cious mob of team­mates smack­ing his hel­met and rip­ping the jersey off his back and took his f irst postgame sports- drink bath.

This wasn’t just the f irst walk- off hit of Feather­ston’s bud­ding big league ca­reer, a two- out poke of a Chad Qualls slider off the end of his bat to end Wed­nes­day’s

4- hour 31- minute marathon.

It was also Feather­ston’s f irst hit in An­gel Sta­dium, so spo­radic has the re­serve in­fielder’s play­ing time been that he went 73 games into the sea­son and 22 at- bats at home be­fore notch­ing his f irst hit at the sta­dium.

“Yeah, dang, you’re right, it’s my f irst one,” Feather­ston said, when in­formed by a re­porter in the club­house. “Wow, it took some time, a lit­tle more than we’d like, but it couldn’t have come at a big­ger time, that’s for sure.”

Feather­ston, 25, would prob­a­bly be bet­ter off play­ing ev­ery day at triple A, but as a Rule 5 pick who jumped from dou­ble A to the ma­jors, the An­gels have to keep him on the ros­ter all sea­son or risk los­ing him to the Colorado Rock­ies, the club from which he came.

Feather­ston has been used mostly as a late- game de­fen­sive re­place­ment at third base — he en­tered in the ninth in­ning Wed­nes­day for that rea­son — and has started only nine games.

He had an .093 av­er­age ( four for 33) when he stepped to the plate in the 13th in­ning and lofted his chip­shot win­ner just be­yond the reach of first base­man Chris Carter.

“Out of all the guys you want to ex­pe­ri­ence a walk- off win, Tay­lor is at the top of the list,” Man­ager Mike Scios­cia said. “He’s not get­ting a lot of play­ing time. He’s out work­ing at 3 p. m. ev­ery af­ter­noon on his skill set, try­ing to stay sharp, and he got one to fall in. I couldn’t be hap­pier for him.”

Feather­ston is a slick f ielder with a strong arm who has looked over­matched at times at the plate, but he’s do­ing ev­ery­thing he can to stay com­pet­i­tive.

“You have to em­pha­size your drill work, your work in the cage, and make ev­ery­thing game- like with­out see­ing in- game ve­loc­ity,” Feather­ston said. “Whether it’s turn­ing the pitch­ing ma­chine up, con­stantly ask­ing ques­tions to guys like [ as­sis­tant hit­ting coach] Dave Hansen about com­ing off the bench, how to ap­proach at- bats … I’ve learned a lot.

“It’s a new role, but I feel like ev­ery day I go out there, it’s more com­fort­able. ... There are lit­tle traps you can fall in, but I’m learn­ing how to avoid those and to stay pos­i­tive. At the end of day, life is amaz­ing. I’m here in the big leagues, play­ing with the An­gels. Life could be a lot worse.”

A strong start by left- han­der An­drew Heaney, who was called up from triple A Wed­nes­day and gave up one run and four hits in six in­nings, and seven in­nings of score­less, three- hit re­lief from Trevor Gott, Joe Smith, Hus­ton Street, Fer­nando Salas and Jose Alvarez po­si­tioned the An­gels for the win.

Erick Ay­bar sparked the 13thin­ning rally with a lead­off sin­gle against left- han­der Joe Thatcher. He was bunted to sec­ond by Daniel Robert­son and took third on Efren Navarro’s ground­out to sec­ond.

Qualls re­placed Thatcher and walked Chris Ian­netta, who took sec­ond base on de­fen­sive in­dif­fer­ence. Feather­ston’s f loater barely bent the blades of grass it landed on in shal­low right field.

“That’s how this game works,” Feather­ston said. “Some­times you hit it hard right at some­body, and other times you hit it soft and it falls.”

The hit moved the An­gels to within 4 1⁄2 games of the f irst- place Astros in the Amer­i­can League West and gave Feather­ston, who grew up in Hous­ton and played at Texas Chris­tian Univer­sity, a spe­cial sense of achieve­ment.

“Oh yeah, for sure,” he said, when asked whether it was more spe­cial do­ing this against the Astros. “My dad was a big Rock­ets fan, Astros fan and Oil­ers fan back in the day, so it’s al­ways nice beat­ing the Astros.”

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