ANAHEIM: Miles out of playoff contention, the Angels seem intent on at least making the second half interesting.
They equaled their biggest comeback of the season, overcoming an early four-run deficit to beat the Texas Rangers, 9-5, on Monday night (Tuesday in Manila).
The Angels equaled their longest winning streak of the season by winning their fourth straight. They have won eight of their last 10, although they are still 13½ games back.
Mike Trout’s three-run homer, his 19th of the season, broke open a one-run game in the seventh inning.
The Angels had just taken the lead on Kole Calhoun’s tie-breaking ground ball, pushing Jett Bandy home to make it 6-5.
It was an impressive comeback, considering that they trailed 4-0 before they’d even sent their fourth batter to the plate in the second inning.
Nick Tropeano had allowed three homers in the first two innings, eventually leaving with right elbow discomfort. He will be re-evaluated on Tuesday, but elbow discomfort is generally the sort of the thing that leads to the disabled list.
Fortunately for the Angels, they were prepared to handle the early exit of a starter because of last week’s All-Star break and three solid outings from their starters over the weekend.
The first man out of a fresh bullpen was sixth starter Jhoulys Chacin, who had been in the Angels rotation until earlier this month, when a string of poor outings cost him his spot.
It ended up being one of Chacin’s best games in an Angels uniform. Chacin pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just two singles. He stabilized the game long enough to let the Angels get back into it.
Although A.J. Griffin had set them down in order in the first three innings, he fell apart in the fourth. Griffin walked three of the first four hitters, with Trout’s infield single in between, to push home a run.
Daniel Nava then hit a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 4-2.
The Angels could have gotten back into the game even faster but they then hit into the first of three double plays in three innings.
The Angels lead the majors, grounding into 91 double plays.
Still, they got the lead thanks to Ji-Man Choi’s first career homer, a solo shot in the fifth, and a two-run rally in the sixth. Nava drove in the tying run with a groundout and Johnny Giavotella then singled to push home the go-ahead run.
The lead didn’t last long, though. With the Angels bullpen in flux because of the struggles of Fernando Salas and Joe Smith, Manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t have a clear procession of relievers to finish games.
With two lefties due up in the seventh, Scioscia went with Salas. He gave up back-to-back doubles to Nomar Mazara and former Angel Bobby Wilson to tie the game. It ended Salas’ string of four straight scoreless outings, which followed a 16-game stretch in which he had a 9.72 ERA.
J.C. Ramirez, who got the final two outs of the seventh, ended up with the win after the Angels’ rallied.
Andrelton Simmons provided a key double in the middle of the seventh-inning rally, one of his three hits. Simmons is hitting .390 over his last 21 games.