Pujols' walk-off double completes comeback victory

Down to final out, Trout's infield single sets stage for dramatic win

Pujols' walk-off double completes comeback victory

ANAHEIM -- After being shut down for nine innings on Friday and for the first seven innings of Saturday night's game, the Angels offense scored two in the bottom of the eighth and two more in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Astros, 5-4.

With runners on first and second and two outs, Albert Pujols doubled down the left-field line to score Luis Jimenez and Mike Trout. The double was Pujols' 15th career walk-off hit and his first in an Angels uniform.

"That's the guy we want up there," manager Mike Scioscia said. "No doubt, that's the guy we want up there in that situation. That's a big hit."

The win snapped the Angels' five-game losing streak and avoided the first 0-5 home start in team history. With a win on Sunday, the Angels can claim their first series of the year.

"It's always nice to break through and break a streak," Scioscia said. "We didn't play a perfect game out there, we made some mistakes, but we came back late and got some big hits. You want to create momentum and with a win like this, hopefully we can carry it over and start [a win streak] tomorrow."

While the Angels fell behind for the fifth straight game, Garrett Richards kept the team in the game and gave the pitching staff exactly what it needed.

Pujols did the same for the offense.

The veteran first baseman provided the hit with runners in scoring position that the offense needed and the win the entire clubhouse needed.

"We needed that," Trout said. "Things were going bad for us the past couple games, that was a big hit for Albert."

Richards, who allowed four runs on three hits in 6 1/3 innings, was the first Angels starter to pitch into the seventh inning this season.

The Halos' offense entered Saturday's contest struggling to score runs -- the unit had only scored one run in the previous two games -- but Richards did not let that affect his mindset and he didn't feel any extra pressure to hold the Astros down.

"For me, pitching is pitching, whether the offense is performing or not," Richards said. "I'm going to go out there and try to keep the ball in the infield with my sinker and when the time comes, [go for the strikeout]."

Opposing Richards was right-hander Lucas Harrell, who shut down the Angels in 5 2/3 innings of work by scattering six hits and only allowing one run. But, his bullpen allowed four runs in three innings of work leaving him with a no-decision.

"It's really disappointing," Astros closer Jose Veras said. "The starting pitching was great and did a wonderful job, and they hit good pitches. You can't say [anything] about it. Maybe they should be better pitches, but I think they were good pitches and they just hit them. Pujols hit a good pitch down the line."

The lone run Harrell allowed came on a solo homer by Josh Hamilton, who was presented with his 2012 Silver Slugger Award prior to the game.

Hamilton's first home run in an Angels uniform provided the first run of the night for the Angels, snapped a 19-inning scoreless streak and awakened the offense.

From Hamilton's home run to Pujols' double, the Angels' hitters were 7-for-14.

While he was undoubtedly happy to be a part of a win -- and score the tying run in the ninth -- Jimenez also went 2-3 and recorded his first career Major League hit, a bloop double that dropped between the second baseman and the right fielder.

"I was excited to finally get it," Jimenez said. "It was unbelievable for me, my family, all of my fans and my dad. It was something fun."

On the same night Jimenez recorded his first career hits, reliever Michael Roth -- promoted from Double-A earlier in the day -- made his Major League debut. Roth pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth while striking out four. He was also rewarded with the win.

"It's a good feeling to see a youngster take the ball for the first time and get out there," Scioscia said. "His makeup is off the charts. He got out there, competed and earned his first win."

William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.