Kendry Morales(notes) capped a three-run ninth inning with a bases-loaded single, and Los Angeles overcame a seven-run deficit against an overworked Seattle Mariners bullpen to pull out a wild 9-8 victory on Sunday.
“We had some great at-bats in the ninth, and it paid off with the win,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “The bullpen got outs that kept us in the game, and we didn’t quit.”
“I knew from the first pitch I threw,” Aardsma said. “I gave it everything I had, but I couldn’t put enough pitches in the strike zone. And by the time I did, I hadn’t earned any close calls. I can live with hits—but the walks? I didn’t give us a chance.”
It was the Angels’ biggest comeback in a victory since July 15, 1996, at Texas under manager Marcel Lachemann—the third time during that season that the Rangers lost after leading by seven runs. On that occasion, the Halos turned a 7-0 deficit into a 10-7 conquest with a six-run seventh keyed by Garret Anderson’s(notes) go-ahead two-run single and capped by pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro’s(notes) two-run double.
This time, they waited until they were down to their last out to take their only lead.
Less than 24 hours after Angels closer Brian Fuentes(notes) blew a 3-0 lead for Matt Palmer(notes) by giving up a tying three-run homer to Jose Lopez(notes), the Halos returned the favor to Aardsma (1-2).
Juan Rivera(notes) drew a bases-loaded walk that forced in the tying run. Morales, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the sixth, ended it with a single to left on a 2-2 pitch. It was the first time the Angels won a game they trailed after eight innings in 19 attempts this season.
“When I knew they were going to walk Torii, I kept thinking about the pitch I was going to get and what to look for,” Morales said through a translator. “I was just patient and waited for my pitch.”
Justin Speier(notes) (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the victory, as the Angels avoided a three-game sweep by the Mariners. Hunter and Mike Napoli(notes) helped trigger the comeback with home runs against Olson, who allowed five runs and five hits over 5 1-3 innings in his third start of the season after being staked to an 8-1 lead.
Vladimir Guerrero’s(notes) two-out double in the first was the Angels’ only hit until the fifth inning, when Napoli homered with two out. One inning later, Hunter hit a two-run shot on Olson’s 65th and final pitch.
“I made mistakes and paid for them,” Olson said. “A couple of bad pitches, they put guys on base, it just happens. You can’t ever go into cruise control out there.”
Suzuki’s hitting streak is the longest in the majors at the moment, and one game shy of the franchise record he set in 2007. The two-time AL batting champ finished this month with a .377 average. His .365 career percentage in May is the highest by any player since 1955.
The miracle finish got Angels starter Ervin Santana(notes) off the hook, after he gave up eight runs and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings. It was his fourth start after missing the first 32 games of the campaign because of a sprained right elbow.
The Mariners had two runners thrown out at the plate in the eighth—Suzuki on a grounder to shortstop Erick Aybar(notes) with the infield in, and Adrian Beltre(notes) on a double to right field by Ken Griffey Jr.(notes) after Bobby Abreu(notes) relayed the ball to second baseman Howie Kendrick(notes).
“All the signs said no, in retrospect. But with two outs, I took the chance with Beltre,” third base coach Bruce Hines said. “Abreu made a great relay and Kendrick made a perfect throw - and he was out by 10 feet.”
Figgins, whose 258 stolen bases are an Angels franchise record, became the first player in club history to steal at least 20 in six consecutive seasons. He led the majors with 62 in 2005, eight off the team record Mickey Rivers set in 1975. … Hunter, who leads the Angels with 42 RBIs, finished this month with 26—two short of the Angels record for May, which was set by Mo Vaughn in 1999. … Guerrero’s double was his first extra base hit in 22 at-bats after returning from the disabled list.