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Trout gives Angels fans victory to go with bobblehead

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Just when it appeared the sellout crowd at Angel Stadium would have to go home happy with the Mike Trout bobblehead dolls that were given away, the real life Trout gave them a parting gift.

Trout scored all the way from first on a two-out, two-run double by Albert Pujols in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Los Angeles Angels to a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.

Pujols' hit capped a rally from what was a 4-1 deficit heading into the bottom of the eighth. The Angels pushed two runs across in the eighth to make it 4-3, but were one out away from their sixth consecutive loss before Pujols' game-winner. The Astros' winning streak ended at three.

Luis Jimenez, called up from the minors just a day earlier, walked with one out against Astros closer Jose Veras, and one out later Trout had an infield single. Pujols then hit a hard ground ball inside third and into the left-field corner, with the speedy Trout easily scoring the winning run.

"I told myself on the pitch before, anything in the gap and I'm going to take my chances," said Trout, who had two hits in the game. "(The win) means a lot. Things started to click a little bit better tonight. We got 13 hits. (Starting pitcher) Garrett (Richards) pitched great. Josh (Hamilton) had a big home run, too."

Richards was making his first start in place of the injured Jered Weaver and held the Astros to just one hit through six innings. That one hit, though, was a two-run homer by Chris Carter. Hamilton hit his first home run as an Angel off Astros starter Lucas Harrell in the sixth to cut the Astros' lead to 2-1.

In the seventh, the Astros loaded the bases with one out against Richards, who was then taken out of the game. With Sean Burnett pitching, Matt Dominguez had an RBI single and Marwin Gonzalez drove in a run with a squeeze bunt -- both runs charged to Richards (6 1/3 IP, 4 runs, 3 hits) -- giving the Astros a seemingly safe 4-1 lead.

The Angels were able to get close in the eighth, a single by Pujols and double by Mark Trumbo setting up sacrifice flies by both Howie Kendrick and Chris Iannetta and setting the stage for the dramatic walk-off win one inning later.

"A win's a win, but I like the way we came back, I like the way our pitchers executed much better tonight and we did just enough to come back at the end of the ballgame," Angels manager Mike Scoscia said. "In that respect, it feels good and hopefully it'll carry a little momentum tomorrow."

Michael Roth, called up from Class AA Arkansas and making his major-league debut, pitched two innings of relief to get the win for the Angels.

Both starting pitchers were in control early. Harrell retired the first six batters he faced until Iannetta led off the bottom of the third with a single.

Iannetta went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Romine and to third on a passed ball. One out later, J.B. Shuck walked, but Trout grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.

Richards retired the first nine batters he faced before Jose Altuve walked to lead off the fourth.

One out later, Jason Castro hit a sharp grounder to Howie Kendrick at second base, a potential inning-ending double play. But Kendrick bobbled the ball and could only get Castro at first.

It turned out to be costly for the Angels as Carter followed with a two-out, two-run homer to center, the ball just out of the reach of a leaping Trout.

The Angels threatened again in the fifth, getting a leadoff single from Kendrick and a two-out bloop double Jimenez. But Harrell escaped by striking out Shuck, stranding the Angels' base runners at second and third and keeping the Astros' 2-0 intact.

Hamilton's home run in the sixth snapped the Angels' 19-inning scoreless streak.

NOTES: Angels shortstop Erick Aybar was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday because of a bruised left heel, suffered while beating out an infield hit on April 9. Aybar, who is hitting .321 (9 for 28), is eligible to return April 25. With Aybar out, Romine and Brendan Harris will share the shortstop duties. ... Shuck, optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake just a day earlier, replaced Aybar on the roster and started Saturday in left field, batting leadoff. With Shuck in left field, Trout moved to center and Peter Bourjos went to the bench. Shuck got the call to turn back before boarding his flight to Salt Lake City. ... Angels right-hander Kevin Jepsen was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder. Jepsen has dealt with shoulder soreness since spring training and has been hit hard recently, giving up four runs, four hits and one walk in the last two appearances, covering just two-thirds of an inning. Replacing Jepsen on the roster and in the bullpen is Michael Roth, who was called up from Double-A Arkansas. Roth was a starter at Arkansas and will serve in long relief with the Angels. ... Astros first baseman Brett Wallace was back in the starting lineup Saturday. Wallace began the day hitting .048 (1 for 21) and was hitless in his previous 19 at-bats. ... Altuve and center fielder Justin Maxwell have served as a productive 1-2 punch at the top of the Astros' lineup. Going into Saturday's game against the Angels, Altuve was hitting .364 (16 for 44) with a .391 on-base percentage and Maxwell was hitting .359 (14 for 39) with a .419 on-base percentage. As a result, the Astros have scored more runs in the first inning than any other inning this season.
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