Hamilton hits homer in 10th as Angels beat Astros

Joe Haakenson, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Josh Hamilton could be the poster boy for what has gone wrong this season for the Los Angeles Angels. But for one night anyway, Hamilton was a walk-off hero, and the Angels could forget about the disappointment of 2013.
Hamilton's one-out home run in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted the Angels to a 6-5 win over the Houston Astros Saturday night at Angel Stadium. The home run was Hamilton's 18th of the season and came off Astros reliever Josh Fields (1-3). Angels reliever Ernesto Frieri (1-4) pitched two scoreless innings to get the victory.
"All you can do is keep working hard and prepare to play," said Hamilton, who had two hits to raise his average to .227. "If the results aren't there, it's frustrating. That's the way the season's gone all around, it's been frustrating. Moments like that ... you've got to come back anyway, so it makes it easier."
Neither starting pitcher -- the Angels' Garrett Richards and the Astros' Dallas Keuchel -- could hold a lead in the early innings, and neither figured in the decision. Richards gave up five runs on 12 hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking none. Keuchel didn't last as long, giving up four runs on eight hits and three walks in just four innings.
Mark Trumbo keyed the Angels offense early with a solo home run (No. 27) and a two-run triple as the Angels took a 4-2 lead into the fifth. But Houston's Brett Wallace, who already had two hits and an RBI in his first two at-bats, hit a two-run homer in the fifth to tie the game. Chris Carter's RBI double gave the Astros a 5-4 lead later in the inning,
The lead held up until the seventh, when Mike Trout walked, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Erick Aybar, tying the game at 5.
The Astros appeared poised to take the lead in the ninth after L.J. Hoes led off with a double to right field. Replays showed that Aybar appeared to graze the back of Hoes' jersey with a tag at second base after receiving the throw from Collin Cowgill in right field. Angels manager Mike Scioscia came out to argue with second base umpire Eric Cooper and quickly convinced the umpiring crew to huddle.
After a couple minutes, the call was reversed, Hoes was called out and Astros manager Bo Porter argued for several minutes to no avail.
"I've never seen anything like that where the umpire is actually in position to make a call, he makes a call, and then agrees to get help on a call he's in position to make," Porter said. "It's obviously a big play. A man on second base and nobody out, a good opportunity to do some situational hitting and get him in. But that was not the case and you guys all saw the outcome."
Porter was asked what explanation he got from Cooper.
"He felt like he may not have seen it as clearly as he wanted to see it, and he decided to get help," Porter said.
That set the stage for Hamilton's second walk-off homer of the season and fifth of his career. It came on an 0-2 pitch that Fields was trying to throw in the dirt, according to Hamilton. But for a change, Fields hung it and Hamilton got a brief respite from an otherwise forgettable season.
"Everybody I've talked to says players go through seasons like this," Hamilton said. "This is the first season I've ever gone through like this. But in terms of character and how you persevere through this thing, it's what makes you better in the long run. Come back next year and you've been through it so you know how to get out of it."
NOTES: Angels INF Grant Green went 0 for 4 Saturday, but is still hitting .382 (13 for 34) since being traded to the Angels from Oakland for INF Alberto Callaspo on July 30. Green spent his first week in the organization at Class AAA Salt Lake before joining the Angels Aug. 6. ... Angels RHP Kevin Jepsen's right hand was fine Saturday, one day after being hit by a line drive off the bat of the Astros' Chris Carter. Jepsen, who had to leave Friday's game, was diagnosed with a bruise. ... Astros 1B/DH Chris Carter struck out once Saturday and now has 161 strikeouts this season, most in the American League. He has already set an Astros' single-season record, topping the previous record of 145, set by Lee May in 1972. ... Astros OF Robbie Grossman went 3 for 5 Saturday and is now hitting .355 (27 for 76) since being called up from Class AAA Oklahoma City on July 27. He hit .198 in his first 28 games of the season in April and May before being sent down to Oklahoma City for the next two months.

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