Trout gets the outs, before Pujols walks off vs. Rox
By Earl Bloom and Alden Gonzalez
ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout saved the game with a couple of defensive gems, and Albert Pujols ended it, lifting an 11th-inning sacrifice fly that plated pinch-runner Taylor Featherston and sent the Angels to a 2-1, walk-off victory over the Rockies on Wednesday night.
With that, the Rockies lost their 11th straight game and the Angels, winners of six of their last eight, moved to .500 for the first time since April 30.
C.J. Cron led off the bottom of the 11th with a single to right-center field off Christian Friedrich, snapping an 0-for-18 slump. The next batter, Kole Calhoun, ripped a line drive off the right-field wall to put runners on the corners. After Trout was intentionally walked to load the bases, Pujols fouled off a couple of tough two-strike pitches, then lifted a low slider to left-center field, giving the Angels their third walk-off win this season.
"You just have to try to not be too anxious," Pujols said. "Bases loaded, no outs, five-man infield, my only reminder was to stay away from the ground-ball double play. He made some tough pitches. I knew I had to get a good pitch to hit. That last one was a pretty good one. I drove down my knee to try to get it up."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Trout's glove, arm come up big: The Rockies had two golden opportunities to take the lead in extra innings, but Trout kept them off the board twice. In the top of the 10th, he trotted to the wall, timed his jump perfectly and casually robbed Troy Tulowitzki of extra bases, perhaps even a home run.
In the top of the 11th, he raced forward, made the catch on a shallow fly ball from Daniel Descalso, fired a perfect throw home and nailed Carlos Gonzalez at the plate. Gonzalez was initially deemed safe, but umpires overturned the call after consulting replay. More >
What a relief (outing): Rockies right-hander Christian Bergman, making an emergency appearance to start the second inning in place of injured starter Jordan Lyles, retired the first 10 Angels he faced before Erick Aybar doubled in the fifth inning. The throw to second was wide of the mark, but Aybar was thrown out trying to take third by Tulowitzki.
Bergman retired the next four hitters and had faced only the minimum 15 entering the seventh. He finished with 5 1/3 innings of three-hit relief, one earned run allowed, four strikeouts and no walks.
"He was outstanding. ... I hugged him," said bench coach Tom Runnells, who took the place of manager Walt Weiss after Weiss underwent an emergency appendectomy. "He was phenomenal. He gave us length. He pitched tremendously. He kept the ball down, and threw first-pitch strikes." More >
Fly balls and punchouts: That pretty much made up Hector Santiago's entire outing on Wednesday. The 27-year-old left-hander struck out eight batters, all in the first four innings, and his 10 other outs came on fly balls -- some hit hard, some traveling far. He gave up just one run on seven hits and no walks in six innings, dropping his ERA to 2.41.
"Hector was Hector tonight," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He used his off-speed pitches when he had to, he had good life fastball. He can be effectively wild at times, but he got back into counts and pitched six strong innings."
Clutch throw: In the bottom of the seventh inning, Rockies center fielder Drew Stubbs threw out Pujols, the potential go-ahead run, at the plate on a close play, as Pujols tried to score from second on Aybar's RBI single. Pujols came in just a few steps behind Trout, who scored easily from third to tie the game.
"I was just trying to get the ball home as fast as I could, and I was a little surprised he was going," Stubbs said. "The throw was gone when I saw [Pujols] going home. I guess they were just trying to be aggressive."
Streak stopper: Rockies catcher Nick Hundley had his career-best hitting streak end at 13 games. Angels third baseman David Freese robbed him of a hit in the seventh, backhanding a hard grounder and throwing Hundley out from foul territory.
"When the ball gets around that guy, good things happen -- at the plate, on 'D.' He's fearless. Those plays, they don't get his heart pumping. He just makes the plays, and he gets the outs. It's incredible how he can slow the game down and be so under control when the game is on the line." -- Angels outfielder Collin Cowgill on Trout
"[Angels catcher Carlos Perez] never touched my foot coming in. He missed my foot. He tagged me down, behind the knee when my foot was already on the plate. It was a bang-bang play. Those can go either way. It was a great throw by Trout." -- Gonzalez, on the 11th-inning play at the plate that was overturned
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Pujols' sac fly was his first walk-off of any kind since his home run on Aug. 9, 2014, against the Red Sox. The Angels' first baseman now has 17 career walk-offs. The only player with more since 2000 is Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, with 19.
WHAT'S NEXT Rockies: Right-hander Chad Bettis, up from Triple-A Albuquerque, will open a four-game series at Dodger Stadium on Thursday night at 8:10 p.m MT. Bettis was 2-2 with a 3.97 ERA in six starts for the Isotopes. He has 37 games of Major League experience, most of it in relief.
Angels: Following a day off on Thursday, the Angels embark on a 10-game, three-city East coast trip, starting with a weekend series in Baltimore. Jered Weaver gets the ball in the opener at 4:05 p.m. PT on Friday, opposing lefty Wei-Yin Chen and hoping to build off an encouraging shutout seven days earlier.