An­gels storm back, keep streak alive

With fourth straight vic­tory, they reach .500 and move closer to wild-card lead­ers.

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

The An­gels are still not healthy, still re­ceiv­ing lack­lus­ter sea­sons from an ar­ray of hit­ters, still strug­gling to cap­ture the pub­lic’s in­ter­est, still un­likely to ac­tu­ally qual­ify for the post­sea­son.

But they are un­de­ni­ably mak­ing this thing in­ter­est­ing. They se­cured their fourth straight vic­tory and sixth in seven tries Fri­day, scor­ing six unan­swered runs to come back to beat Oak­land 8-6 at An­gel Sta­dium. They are 55-55, and only two games sep­a­rate them from play­off po­si­tion.

“Bet­ter late than never,” said Ben Re­vere, who scored Fri­day’s win­ning run.

It has be­come the team’s re­frain this sum­mer, en­joyed be­cause of its du­al­ity: “We’re still in it.”

Ap­pli­ca­ble to their 32 come­back vic­to­ries and to their play­off odds, the An­gels cite it in in­ter­views and tell it to their pregame vis­i­tors dur­ing bat­ting prac­tice, a sub­tle re­minder to one an­other that they can yet con­tend in 2017. With each pass­ing week, the idea ap­pears more plau­si­ble. They do not have to play par­tic­u­larly good games, es­pe­cially while host­ing Philadel­phia, Oak­land and Bal­ti­more on this home­s­tand. They can al­ways come back, as they did Fri­day.

Af­ter Mike Trout hit an in­field sin­gle to short in the first in­ning, Al­bert Pu­jols tapped into an in­ning-end­ing dou­ble play. It was the 351st dou­ble-play ground­out of his ca­reer, which holds grand sig­nif­i­cance. It broke Pu­jols’ tie with Cal Rip­ken and staked him alone to the all-time record.

Mak­ing the first start of his ca­reer, the An­gels’ Troy Scrib­ner did not give up a hit un­til the sec­ond in­ning. It was a three-run home run to Matt Chap­man — a walk and an er­ror pre­ceded it — that gave the Ath­let­ics an early lead. The An­gels made it 3-2 with three sin­gles, two er­rors, a sac­ri­fice fly, and a hit by pitch in their half of the sec­ond. With the bases loaded and two out, Trout flied out to left field.

Over the next three in­nings, they mus­tered two baserun­ners — both on dou­bles, by Trout and Kole Cal­houn. Nei­ther man ad­vanced.

Mean­time, Scrib­ner con­tin­ued to strug­gle with his com­mand. When he walked the first two Ath­let­ics who bat­ted in the fifth, man­ager Mike Scios­cia pulled him in fa­vor of fel­low rookie Key­nan Mid­dle­ton, who got a strike­out but then yielded back-to-back hits, the lat­ter scor­ing two runs. Scios­cia called on de­posed starter Jesse Chavez for the next two in­nings, and Chavez sur­ren­dered an­other run.

Oak­land led 6-2 un­til an An­drel­ton Sim­mons walk started the An­gels’ sixth-in­ning rally. Re­vere con­tin­ued it with a sin­gle through to right field. Af­ter C.J. Cron and Martin Mal­don­ado hit into outs, Cliff Pen­ning­ton shot a sin­gle into cen­ter, scor­ing two to halve Oak­land’s lead. Yunel Es­co­bar sin­gled and Trout walked, load­ing the bases for Pu­jols.

He popped out in foul ter­ri­tory, but his team­mates strung to­gether an­other rally in the sev­enth. To be­gin, Cal­houn, Sim­mons and Re­vere drew con­sec­u­tive walks against Oak­land left-han­der Daniel Coulombe, pre­cip­i­tat­ing his exit. Against right-han­der Blake Treinen, the An­gels did not im­me­di­ately fare as well. Cron swung at ev­ery pitch he saw and struck out on three pitches.

Up next, pinch-hit­ter Luis Val­buena punched a sinker into left field to drive in two and tie the score.

Pen­ning­ton grounded to sec­ond for a force­out of Val­buena but got the go-ahead run to third base. Es­co­bar drib­bled a grounder to third base, where Chap­man fielded it in time to record the fi­nal out. But Chap­man bob­bled the base­ball and could not re­cover — the An­gels had their lead.

Trout added a run to it with a bloop sin­gle, the team’s fourth hit in 18 at­bats with run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion.

“We had tons of guys on tonight,” Scios­cia said. “We only had four hits, but they were all big.”

The An­gels (55-55) gained a game in the Amer­i­can League wild-card chase. They now trail Kansas City by only two games for the sec­ond spot, and the New York Yan­kees by three games for the first.

Harry How Getty Im­ages

THE AN­GELS’ Cliff Pen­ning­ton scores eas­ily on a Mike Trout sin­gle dur­ing a four-run sev­enth in­ning Fri­day night. The late rally was enough to se­cure a win.

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