After the Los Angeles Angels were the victims of late-inning heroics Monday, they appeared to be set for a similar ending Tuesday.
Instead, they’ll have a chance to win this three-game series - though the pitching matchup hardly seems to be in their favor.
A day after Ernesto Frieri surrendered the go-ahead homer in the top of the ninth to A.J. Pierzynski in a 7-6 Rangers win, Texas (13-7) tied the score at 4-all Tuesday with an unearned run in the eighth. Frieri almost suffered a similar fate as Mike Trout - with a Texas runner on third in the ninth - took what would have been extra bases away from Adrian Beltre as he laid out for a diving catch on the warning track.
Howie Kendrick delivered the deciding blow with his second home run of the night in the bottom of the 11th to give the Angels a 5-4 win.
“It’s a great feeling to know that you can leave the other team on the field,” Kendrick said two days after Mark Trumbo hit a walk-off homer to beat Detroit in 13 innings. “But to get the victory is the most important thing.”
Kendrick and the rest of the order now will have to contend with Darvish (3-1, 2.03 ERA), who has struck out 38 in 26 2-3 innings over his four starts. He surrendered season highs of six hits and four walks - resulting in three runs - over five innings against the Angels (8-11) on April 7 in a 7-3 win.
Darvish is coming off his 10th career 10-strikeout game as he threw seven shutout innings against the Mariners on Friday.
While he still could stand to be more efficient - Darvish needed 111 pitches against Seattle - manager Ron Washington won’t complain if the wins continue to pile up.
“He’s been asserting himself for quite a while now - even when he felt that maybe he wasn’t performing the way he should, the results were still being gotten,” Washington told the team’s official website. “That’s what good pitchers do.”
The Angels counter with Roth (1-0, 3.60), who will make his first career start. The left-hander is filling in for Tommy Hanson who was placed on the bereavement list Monday following a death in his family.
Roth is just two days removed from being charged with a run without recording an out in Monday’s series opener. The 23-year-old gave up a single to Lance Berkman the only batter he faced in his fourth relief appearance this season.
“My arm feels good,” Roth told the Angels’ official website. “I haven’t thrown out of the ‘pen on back-to-back days yet. I think I’ll be all right.”
Darvish was just fine in Anaheim last season, going 2-1 with a 2.11 ERA and fanning 27 in 21 1-3 innings.
Mike Trout is one of the few Angels to have had some success against Darvish, going 6 for 19 with two homers and five walks.
Kendrick is 0 for 12 with five strikeouts.