(The Sports Xchange) - Mike Trout hit a leadoff triple in the ninth and then scored the winning run in a 2-1 victory on Friday over the Texas Rangers, keeping the Los Angeles Angels’ playoff hopes alive.
Pounding his hands together, it was obvious what the moment meant to last year’s MVP.
“It’s a big game,” Trout said. “We’re fighting.”
The Angels (84-76) were one game behind Houston starting the day in the race for the second wild-card spot. Minnesota also began Friday tied with Los Angeles.
“We can’t lose anymore,” Trout said.
The loss kept the Rangers (87-73) from celebrating an American League West title before a sellout crowd of 47,219.
Texas, already assured of a spot in the post-season, came into the game needing one win or a Houston loss to clinch the division.
The Astros were at Arizona later on Friday.
“We’ve got two games left and we’re going to continue to play hard,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said.
“These guys have done a tremendous job of responding to situations like this. I felt like we played well. We had some opportunities with some baserunners, but we were able to only manage the one run.”
Los Angeles starter Jared Weaver allowed only one run through six innings, leaving with the game tied.
Rangers starter Martin Perez was done after seven innings, having allowed four hits and one run while striking out four.
The bullpens for both squads held firm until Trout opened the ninth with a shot to right-center off Texas closer Shawn Tolleson.
“(Trout) did a good job of staying back and going the other way,” Tolleson said.
“They asked me how I felt today and I told them I felt really good, and I did. I felt good out there. I felt like I had good stuff out there. Things just didn’t play out.”
Designated hitter Albert Pujols followed with a soft single to center to score Trout.
“We were quiet for a while, got two big hits in the ninth,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “And you can’t say enough about our bullpen.”
Angels reliever Joe Smith, the AL leader with 32 holds this season, picked up his fourth save after a perfect ninth.
Relievers Trevor Gott, Jose Alvarez and Mike Morin (4-2) also had scoreless outings for the Angels.
Compiled by Greg Stutchbury