ANAHEIM -- Down by two in the bottom of the ninth and in danger of losing for the 11th time in their past 13 games, the Angels stormed all the way back against Indians closer Cody Allen, getting a two-out, two-run single by C.J. Cron and then scoring the winning run on a wild pitch in a thrilling 4-3 walk-off win on Wednesday afternoon.
"I'll tell you one thing, these guys are going to give everything they have until the last out," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's why we're optimistic about the direction that we're going."
The Angels got a one-out single by Albert Pujols, then back-to-back two-out walks by Erick Aybar and Conor Gillaspie to load the bases, the last one coming on a full count. Scioscia then elected to let the right-handed-hitting Cron bat against Allen, a right-hander, and watched the young slugger come through with a game-tying single to center field.
Shortly after that, with pinch-hitter David DeJesus at the plate, Allen's breaking ball squirted away from Indians catcher Roberto Perez, allowing pinch-runner Taylor Featherston to score the winning run with a headfirst slide.
"I just kind of lost it out there," Allen said, "and didn't really do myself any favors. I didn't slow the game down enough to where I could just make an adjustment. I make one pitch, and we're out of it."
Indians starter Danny Salazar got a no-decision despite pitching six innings of one-run ball, one day after Carlos Carrasco shut the Angels out through the first nine frames of a 12-inning victory. Angels starter Hector Santiago gave up a two-out RBI single to Ryan Raburn in the fourth, then leadoff homers to Jose Ramirez and Raburn in the sixth and seventh in an otherwise solid outing.
Two innings later, Santiago watched his offense come to life.
"It was a fun game," DeJesus said. "It's crazy how things work out. But when you play 27 outs, you always have a shot."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Give him a chance: Scioscia could've easily opted to replace Cron with the left-handed-hitting DeJesus with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, but he let the 25-year-old slugger hit. Part of that was because he had drawn two walks against another righty, Salazar, earlier in the game. But an even bigger reason was Allen's reverse splits, allowing a .780 OPS to right-handed hitters and a .540 OPS to left-handed hitters this season.
"I was ready to hit," Cron said. "You always have to be ready to hit. You can't assume somebody's going to hit for you. Fortunately, I got a good pitch to hit, and I put a good swing on it."
Back with a blast: Due to a recent bout with illness, and a stretch of games without a left-handed starter on the mound for the opposition, Raburn had not been in the starting lineup for the Indians since July 26. Facing Santiago on Wednesday, he came through with an RBI single in the fourth and added a leadoff homer (No. 5 on the year) in the seventh.
"Even though [Santiago] wasn't throwing 94-95 [mph]," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "he was beating us with that fastball. There's some deception there and some life to it. And [Raburn] got on top of the fastball and got the base hit to left, and then he drove the ball to right. Man, when guys start doing that, that's a good sign."
Light as a feather: Indians third baseman Giovanny Urshela wasn't really holding Featherston on, so the rookie infielder -- replacing Gillaspie on the bases -- was free to take a big secondary lead. And as soon as Allen's 1-2 curveball ricocheted off the gear of Indians catcher Perez, Featherston broke to the plate, reaching a top speed of 18.74 mph, according to Statcast™. The ball trickled only about 20 feet away, but it was enough.
"You have to bet on yourself," Featherston said. "You have to believe in what you see and what your eyes tell you, and you just have to run with it." More >
Filling in nicely: Called up to help play second base and hit leadoff while All-Star Jason Kipnis (right shoulder) is on the disabled list, Ramirez did his part in the series against the Angels. He reached based eight times in 15 plate appearances, including six walks (two on Wednesday). His solo homer to the bullpen beyond the left-field wall in the sixth inning gave Cleveland a 2-1 lead.
"Three days in a row, he goes up there and leads off with walks," Francona said. "He's working the count, and I think he's understanding that he's trying to set a little bit of a tone for, not only getting on base, but seeing some pitches and working. He's done a good job. He's played a nice second base. He runs into a home run from the right side. He's done a good job."
"When you're getting punched in the kidneys and the ribs by Albert after the game, you have to love it. Hopefully I'll be around for a lot more." -- Featherston, on getting mobbed after sliding in with the winning run
"Man, he started out good. First hitter, [Mike] Trout [got out]. And then he got Albert 0-2 and threw a pretty good breaking ball that Albert got just enough of the bat on for a hit. It kind of fell apart from there. It looked like he lost his direction, especially against left-handers. He even spiked a couple fastballs, which is kind of rare. Then, he bounced a breaking ball that [Perez] couldn't quite block soft enough. That's the ballgame." -- Francona, on Allen More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Angels' victory was their first this season when trailing after eight innings, putting their record at 1-44 in those situations. It was their eighth walk-off win of the season, but their second on a wild pitch. Kole Calhoun, who homered in Wednesday's fourth inning, also scored on a walk-off wild pitch on June 28 against the Mariners.
WORKING OVERTIME Huston Street's wife, Lacey, gave birth to the couple's third son, Rafe William Street, at about 11 a.m. PT in Southern California on Wednesday. Street was up most of the night with his wife and watched the birth of his child, but he showed up to the ballpark at around the fifth inning and was ready to pitch the 10th if the game had gone to extra innings.
"Unbelievable," Street said. "Blessing everybody's healthy. That's the most important thing on my side of things, and get to come to the yard while everybody's recovering and sleeping and see the boys walk off with a win. Easily one of the best days of my life." More >
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Following a scheduled team off-day on Thursday, the Indians will open a three-game series at home against the Twins, beginning with a 7:05 p.m. ET tilt on Friday night. Rookie right-hander Cody Anderson (2-3, 3.38 ERA) will be aiming to build off his last outing, which was a quality start on Saturday in Oakland. Anderson has an 8.40 ERA in his past three turns after spinning a 0.89 ERA in the first four starts of his Major League career.
Angels: The Angels are off Thursday, then host a three-game weekend series against the Orioles, beginning at 7:05 p.m. PT on Friday. Left-hander Andrew Heaney (5-1, 1.97 ERA) gets the ball for the opener, opposite Kevin Gausman. Heaney was named American League Rookie of the Month for July after going 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA, and he was charged with two runs in 5 1/3 innings at Dodger Stadium on Saturday.