Trumbo, Angels walk off to seventh straight win

Trumbo, Angels walk off to seventh straight win

Trumbo, Angels walk off to seventh straight win
ANAHEIM -- Monday was supposed to be a night of celebration.

The Angels' bullpen had contributed a gritty nine-inning effort, their offense had showed rare life to keep up with the high-powered Yankees and Mark Trumbo had capped it all with a walk-off homer to lead off the bottom of the ninth, extending his club's season-high winning streak to seven, halting the Yankees' at five and getting the Angels to the .500 mark for the first time since the fourth game of the season.

This, in so many ways, was supposed to be the biggest win of the year.

But because Jered Weaver exited in the first inning, due to a lower back injury that was still bothering him postgame, it could also turn into the biggest loss of the season.

"The story shouldn't be about that," Weaver pleaded after his club's 9-8 victory at Angel Stadium. "It should be about how everybody picked me up and that everybody picked each other up today."

But Weaver -- 6-1 with a 2.61 ERA and a no-hitter this season, while anchoring a staff that's statistically the best in the American League -- is just that important.

"It's obviously a huge loss," Trumbo said. "I don't know what his status is -- hopefully it's a day-to-day thing -- but I'm super proud of the way our guys came in and battled."

The Angels didn't know Weaver's status late Monday night. That won't come until their ace undergoes an MRI and X-ray on Tuesday.

What they did know was that they had won a crazy game with an offensive showing that has been absent all season and a bullpen performance that seems to be the trend lately.

Monday's game saw Weaver be basically a non-factor, Yankees starter Phil Hughes get scorched for the second straight time against the Angels and both clubs constantly go back and forth.

Then it all ended on one swing, when Trumbo stayed back on a first-pitch changeup by righty Cory Wade and skied it to the right of the left-field foul pole, setting off fireworks, causing a dog pile at home plate and giving the Angels their first walk-off victory of the season.

"I wasn't really looking for [the changeup]," said Trumbo, who had faced Wade plenty in the Minors. "I was just looking for something elevated that I could put in the air, and that's what happened."

Wade was trying to throw "something away," he said. Instead, it went away. Far, far away.

"I didn't want to do just that -- leave something over the plate that he can pull out of the ballpark," Wade said. "He's a home run hitter. That's what he's trying to do -- end the game as fast as he can. He beat me. There's really no other way to put it."

Considering the six walks their pitchers gave up, and the three errors their fielders made, the Angels were, as manager Mike Scioscia said, "fortunate" to win. Trumbo's homer, his eighth of the year, marked the third time the Angels had the lead, in a game that saw both teams combine for 25 hits, nine relievers and four homers.

When the Yankees scored three in the top of the first, the Angels came back with four in the bottom half, giving them their highest first-inning production of the year. When the Yankees' Curtis Granderson went deep in the second, the Angels' Mike Trout went deep in the fourth, then the Yankees' Mark Teixeira went deep in the fifth -- all solo shots.

And when it looked like the Angels had pulled away in the bottom of the sixth -- on a two-out, two-run double by Kendrys Morales that made it an 8-5 game -- the Yankees tied it with three in the top of the seventh with Jason Isringhausen on the mound, getting a sacrifice fly from Nick Swisher and a two-out, two-run double from Russell Martin, who came into that at-bat hitting .172 on the year.

"I love the way we came back in that first inning," said Trumbo, who aided the tying run by misplaying Raul Ibanez's fly ball three batters earlier. "That was the turning point for me. It showed some fight, and they realized they were going to be in for a scrap today."

Weaver let the first three runners reach base, then left with excruciating pain in his back -- suffered while throwing a 1-0 fastball to cleanup hitter Robinson Cano -- and watched as the Yankees took an early three-run lead.

But an Angels offense that came in with the second-fewest runs in the AL clobbered Hughes, who gave up seven runs on 11 hits in a 5 1/3-inning outing -- after giving up six runs in 3 1/3 innings in his April 14 start against them at Yankee Stadium.

In the end, the unsung hero might've been Jordan Walden, who pitched a clean eighth then retired Derek Jeter with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth to keep the score tied.

Walden hadn't pitched more than one inning all year, but Scioscia had little choice. Only Ernesto Frieri and Scott Downs were left in the bullpen, and both have pitched a lot recently.

"We had nobody else, really," Walden said. "I'm going to step up and give it everything I have. I was just letting everything go behind the ball."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.