SEATTLE: This time, the Angels got the hit they needed.
A day after their furious comeback came up just short, the Angels finished the job in a 7-6 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night (Saturday in Manila).
The Angels had lost their sixth straight game Thursday, leaving the bases loaded in the ninth.
But on Friday night, they rallied from a 5-1 sixth inning deficit, pecking away at the Seattle bullpen with a seemingly endless supply of seeing-eye singles and bloop hits.
The final two runs came home on C.J. Cron’s popup that dropped into shallow left with one out in the ninth, putting the Angels ahead.
Cron, one of the few hot hitters on the team, had hit a homer in the eighth inning. He is 20 for his last 45, a .444 average.
Mike Trout, who is seemingly always hot, also contributed a bloop double in the seventh to drive in a run.
Albert Pujols, who has been decidedly cold, had two hits, including a single to set up the winning rally in the ninth.
The bottom of the Angels order came up with three singles – all ground balls into left field – in the seventh.
After the final rally, Fernando Salas closed it out, picking up his first save since 2011, when he was with the St. Louis Cardinals. Closer Joe Smith had worked the eighth because the Angels needed to keep the game within reach and because most of the other pitchers were gassed.
The Angels bullpen has been worked so hard lately because of games like Nick Tropeano pitched on Friday.
Tropeano has fallen into a distinct pattern for the Angels this season, pitching effectively but not efficiently.
Tropeano has allowed three runs or fewer in six of his seven starts, two or fewer in five of them. However, he hasn’t once gotten through the sixth inning, each time his pitch count prompting an early exit.
Friday night’s game was perhaps the most extreme example. After a perfect first inning, he threw 34 pitches in the second inning, leaving the bases loaded but posting a zero.
By the time he’d finished three innings, he was already at 58 pitches. He gave up a run in the fourth and one in the fifth, on a Nelson Cruz homer, but then his night was done.
By the time Tropeano walked off the mound, he had completed five innings and allowed only two runs, but he had also thrown 104 pitches.
That left the Angels overworked bullpen to come into the game in the sixth, and Jose Alvarez, who had been very good lately, immediately let the game get out of hand.
He gave up an infield single and a clean single and then walked the bases loaded. Ketel Marte then slashed a line drive to the opposite field, just beyond the dive of right fielder Kole Calhoun. As the ball rolled to the wall, all three runners scored and Marte pulled in with a triple, making it 5-1.
The Angels fought back, though, with two in the seventh, two in the eighth, and then the two decisive runs in the ninth.
The Angels overcame an impressive game by former teammate Chris Iannetta, who had two walks a single and a homer.