(The Sports Xchange) - The Los Angeles Angels were not ready to see the Texas Rangers do any celebrating Saturday.
Down four runs in the ninth inning, Los Angeles rallied for an improbable 11-10 victory over Texas to keep their playoff hopes alive and keep the Rangers reeling.
Texas clinched a playoff berth with a win Thursday but the magic number has remained at one as they have dropped back-to-back games to the Angels.
Saturday’s loss may stick with them for a while, too, as the Angels scored the final three runs after Texas reliever Ross Ohlendforf (3-1) had recorded the second out of the inning.
But out No. 3 did not come until after first baseman C.J. Cron, catcher Carlos Perez and second baseman Johnny Giavotella had each delivered RBI singles, with Giavotella’s giving the Angels the lead.
“It was incredible,” said Giavotella, who went 3-for-5 with three RBIs. “That’s the only way I can describe it, in the ninth inning being down by four with their best pitcher on the mound, their closer.
“It’s almost surreal to come back in that situation. We never lost faith. We had confidence in each other.”
Those runs came after the Rangers opened the ninth with closer Shawn Tolleson, who was pitching for the fifth-consecutive game. The Angeles greeted him with solo homers from shortstop Erick Aybar and outfielder Kole Calhoun, which prompted the move to Ohlendorf.
“As things unfolded we were a strike away three different times, a broken bat in there,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “I felt like Ohlendorf made some good pitches.
“In those situations good pitches aren’t good enough. You’ve got to execute pitches. I felt like they got just enough on the ball, and they singled us and came away with the W.”
Joe Smith, the ninth Los Angeles pitcher, then capped the rally by retiring Texas in bottom of the ninth.
The rally capped a game in which the teams combined to use 18 pitchers, setting an American League record. There also were three errors committed, and the final out came after Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus over-slid second base on a steal attempt.
“The best games usually are a little sloppy,” Angels third baseman David Freese said. “That’s kind of what makes them great.
“A lot of things happen, lead changes, tie ballgames all the way throughout, a lot of pitchers being used. Just a great effort. We never quit, and that’s why we’re in it to the last day.”
Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes