.500 is only a game away

They rally in the eighth to sweep Phillies and keep wild-card hopes alive.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - pe­dro.moura@la­times.com Twitter: @pe­dro­moura By Pe­dro Moura

Trout homers again and An­gels rally for two runs in the eighth to sweep Phillies and win for the fifth time in six games.

This week’s sched­ule is sym­pa­thetic to the An­gels, and to over­come the four teams they’re chas­ing in the Amer­i­can League wild-card hunt, they must take ad­van­tage. They’re host­ing the Philadel­phia Phillies and Oak­land Ath­let­ics, two of the few teams on the An­gels’ 2017 sched­ule who have al­ready ceded this sea­son.

Un­til Thurs­day, the An­gels had not recorded a se­ries sweep since mid-May, which hap­pened to be the last time they played a team that had no shot at the play­offs. They did it then to the Chicago White Sox, and they did it again against the Phillies. Af­ter big wins ear­lier in the week, they mounted an eighth-in­ning come­back for a 5-4 vic­tory at An­gel Sta­dium to move within one game of .500.

Ben Re­vere led off with a walk and swiped sec­ond. Mike Trout stretched the count to six pitches, when he re­ceived a suit­able curve­ball — low, but not too low. He timed it and crushed it 405 feet for a two-run home run. The An­gels went on to draw two more walks in that in­ning, forc­ing Jerad Eick­hoff to throw 33 pitches. He needed only 65 over the next five.

The Phillies struck back for four runs against An­gels rookie right-han­der Parker Brid­well in the sec­ond. Odubel Her­rera sin­gled and Nick Wil­liams drove a ball deep to center, just over the wall. Trout went back and leaped at the right time to catch it, but the ball grazed his glove and kept go­ing. The score was tied, 2-2.

Hyun-Soo Kim next sin­gled. With two outs, Brid­well sur­ren­dered a ground-rule dou­ble to Ce­sar Her­nan­dez. Then Freddy Galvis, the Phillies’ main­stay short­stop, bat­tled Brid­well to 10 pitches be­fore shoot­ing a two-run sin­gle into right field.

Brid­well sur­vived the next three in­nings un­scathed, helped by a su­perb dou­ble play Kaleb Cowart started in the fifth. Eick­hoff too pitched mostly suc­cess­fully. He did per­mit one run in the fourth in­ning, when Kaleb Cowart dou­bled and ad­vanced one base each on con­sec­u­tive fly­outs. The first fly­out was nearly a dou­ble, as Her­rera jumped to snag Martin Mal­don­ado’s drive at the height of the center-field wall.

The An­gels’ next hit was not un­til the sev­enth, when Re­vere and Trout knocked back-to-back two-out sin­gles be­fore Al­bert Pu­jols flied out to right. In the eighth, they ral­lied. Luis Val­buena walked, and An­drel­ton Sim­mons sliced a dou­ble to right. C.J. Cron grounded a ball back up the mid­dle, where right-han­der Luis Garcia de­flected it. The Phillies recorded the out, but the An­gels scored the ty­ing run.

Af­ter an in­ten­tional walk and a fly­out, An­gels man­ager Mike Scios­cia sent up Kole Cal­houn as a pinch-hit­ter. Nurs­ing a slightly strained ham­string, he had not hit in a game since Sun­day.

Sim­mons stood at third base, hop­ing to score the ty­ing run. More ap­pro­pri­ately, he f loated near it, con­stantly tak­ing steps in ei­ther di­rec­tion, at the ready in case of a ball in the dirt.

Cal­houn did not need to hit for the An­gels to win. The first pitch he saw sailed well over his head, and Sim­mons scam­pered home safely.

“We just kept peck­ing away,” Scios­cia said.

Brid­well ex­ited af­ter five in­nings. Scios­cia turned to right-han­der Cam Be­drosian to han­dle the sixth and long man Yus­meiro Pe­tit to pitch the next two in­nings. Pe­tit found trou­ble in the eighth, as the bases be­came loaded with two outs, but he fielded a tap­per from Cameron Rupp to end the in­ning.

Bud Nor­ris took the ninth, pitch­ing for the first time since he sur­ren­dered his sec­ond walk-off grand slam in five days Sun­day. He set down all four Phillies he faced, a dropped third strike re­quir­ing him to re­tire an­other bat­ter.

“He's enough of a vet­eran to know you have to turn the page,” Scios­cia said.

The An­gels (54-55) kept up with Kansas City in their pur­suit of the AL’s sec­ond wild card. They re­main three games be­hind the Roy­als.

This Phillies lost their 12th con­sec­u­tive game to the An­gels, span­ning back to 2003. It’s the most any team has ever lost to an­other in in­ter­league play. They won’t have a chance to avenge the de­feat un­til 2020.

Sean M. Haf­fey Getty Images

MIKE TROUT HAS MADE some high­light-reel catches, but he can’t rob Philadel­phia’s Nick Wil­liams of a two-run homer in the sec­ond in­ning.

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