.500 is only a game away
They rally in the eighth to sweep Phillies and keep wild-card hopes alive.
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.
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.