Mark Trumbo's 13th-inning home run allowed the Los Angeles Angels to walk off victoriously against the Detroit Tigers, 4-3. Pitching dominated the day, the two teams combining for 27 strikeouts. Tigers pitchers whiffed 16, the Angels' staff getting 11.
Jerome Williams (1-0), the sixth and last pitcher for the Angels, pitched the final three innings for the win. Forced to use Phil Coke (0-2) in an extended appearance, he was victimized by the walk-off home run in his third inning of work and tagged with the loss for Detroit.
Trumbo had the game-winning RBI with his solo home run, Albert Pujols adding a two-RBI double for the Angels. The Tigers' offense was supplied by Prince fielder, who had two hits, including a two-run home run.
This would be the last time the Tigers played on the West Coast this season. They decided to hang around as long as possible, playing into the 13th. Unfortunately, the game didn't end with the same happy fireworks as their 14-inning game in Seattle earlier this week.
Thanks to the sort of baseball luck the Angels had against Rick Porcello Saturday, the Tigers loaded the bases in the first inning. Unlike the Angels, they could not capitalize.
Torii Hunter's one-out bouncer up the middle was good for an infield single. Miguel Cabrera singled to left, Hunter taking second.
Prince Fielder caught one break, not being called out on a checked-swing 2-2 pitch, The big first baseman then caught another when C.J. Wilson fell trying to field what should have been double-play ball. Fielder's come-backer was ruled a single, loading the bases for Victor Martinez.
The breaks would end right then and there.
Wilson went to 3-2 on the Tigers' DH, then threw a fastball by Martinez for the second out. It would be up to Matt Tuiasosopo to capitalize on being gifted loaded bases. On 3-1 pitch, Tuiasosopo just missed a grand slam by a couple of feet, nearly finding the short porch in right, but foul. On a 3-2 pitch, Tuiasosopo hit a fly to the warning track in the right-field corner, Hamilton flagging the ball down to end the inning. The pair of near misses with the bases full symbolized what had been a futile weekend in Anaheim for the Tigers.
The Tigers broke their scoreless skein in the second, thanks to small ball and a timely balk.
Jhonny Peralta led off with a base-on-balls. After Mike Trout's diving catch took a base hit away from Brayan Pena, Omar Infante singled Peralta to second. While he was standing on the rubber, Wilson dropped the baseball, an automatic balk, moving the runners intro scoring position.
The Tigers scored for only the second time in the series when Peralta crossed the plate on Austin Jackson's ground ball to short. But Infante ran into the second out of the inning trying to advance on a ball hit in front of him. A Little League mistake by a 12-year veteran.
The Tigers would load the bases for the second-consecutive inning when Wilson walked Hunter and Cabrera. But for the second-consecutive inning, the Tigers left the bases full. Fielder would again dribble a bouncer to the mound, but this time, Wilson was able to make the easy play to end the inning, the Tigers failing to extend their 1-0 lead.
Fielding misadventures cost the Tigers a pair of runs in the third, courtesy of Peralta, Cabrera and Infante. Also chipping in was Doug Fister, who hit two batters in the inning.
Luis Jimenez led off, was hit by Fister, then sacrificed to second. Trout hit a routine ground ball to short for the first ... NO. Trout beat the throw by a step, Peralta showing no signs urgency with one of the best runners in the game roaring down the base path.
Albert Pujols hit the ball hard, but right at Cabrera. Instead of making the catch and doubling off a straying-off-base Jimenez, Cabrera whiffed on the line dirve, the ball bouncing off the heel of his glove and into left. Rather than the inning being over, Pujols was given a gift double and two RBIs by a blind official scorer.
Fister exacerbated an already weird inning by hitting Hamilton on an 0-2 pitch. Mark Trumbo then hit a slow roller to Cabrera, throwing to second for the force. But Infante exacerbated things even further, his throw to Fielder in the dirt. Unable to make the scoop, the ball took a weird left turn into right field, Hamilton scoring and Trumbo rumbling all the way to third base.
Fister would get out of the inning on Kendrick's ground out. But the Tigers' defensive miscues had gone a long way toward giving the Angels a 3-1 lead.
With one swing of the bat, Fielder made it a new game in the fifth.
As he has done all season long, Hunter reached base and started a rally. This time, he led off the inning with a walk. After Cabrera had struck out in an at-bat as ugly as the game had been, everything changed when Fielder buggy-whipped a Wilson fastball. His sky-high fly ball carried over the scoreboard in right, Fielder's fifth home run of the season tying the game at 3-all (MLB.com video).
After setting down the final five Tigers he faced, Wislon was pulled after six innings. Getting to call to start the seventh was right-handed reliever Dane De La Rosa.
De La Rosa would make it eight straight Tigers taking a seat, including a strikeout of Cabrera, his second straight, to end the seventh.
Peralta butchered another routine play to start the seventh. He bobbled Jimenez's lead-off ground ball, then pulled Fielder off the bag with his throw. Brutal defense from the Tigers ... again.
The bunt-happy Angels had Peter Bourjos lay down a sacrifice, but thanks to a high hop and Pena slightly double-clutching on the throw, ending up with a single.
Trout followed by hitting a double-play ball to Peralta ... and the Tigers actually turned it! Trout was out by half a step. I was as shocked as you likely were.
But once again, Fister would pitch out of the trouble initiated by his defense. Fister intentionally walked Pujols, then ended the inning when Hamilton lined out to center.
Fister's day was over after seven innings and 113 pitches. All that was left to be determined was if he would get a win, and the Tigers could generate some offense in the top of the eighth.
Back-to-back two-out singles from Tuiasosopo and Peralta against lefty reliever Sean Burnett led to ... nothing. Pena popped up to center, the game remaining 3-all. Fister hung with a no-decision.
Al Alburquerque took over for Fister in the bottom of the eighth, and his stuff was beyond wicked, hitting the high 90s as well.
Alburquerque made Trumbo look foolish, striking out in three pitches. Same for Hendricks, who also was sent packing on three pitches. After throwing eight consecutive strikes, Alburquerque would go to a 2-2 count on Harris, then strike him out as well, freezing him with a filthy breaking ball.
It was beautiful to see.
The Angels made another pitching change to start the ninth, running Ernesto Frieri out to the mound. Infante greeted the fire-balling right-hander with a line single to right.
Jackson was asked to lay one down, which he did. Frieri decided to throw to second, the absolute wrong play. But Frieri was bailed out by second base ump Gary Darling, who called Infante out despite clearly beating the throw.
An angry Jim Leyland argued, but to no avail. He would argue from the dugout a couple of pitches later, claiming Frieri balked. Again, to no avail. The human factor in baseball, indeed.
Shaking off more bad Tigers luck, Jackson took matters into his own hands. He would steal second, making the bad call at least semi-moot.
After striking out Hunter, Frieri would pitch around Cabrera, issuing a two-out walk, leaving it up to Fielder. Pitching carefully, Frieri issued another free pass, electing to face Martinez with the bases loaded and two down.
Martinez immediately fell behind 0-2 on a couple of borderline pitches. He would battle back to 2-2, fouling off a couple of fastballs, at least one of which Martinez felt he should have drilled. In the end, Martinez's season-opening slump continued, popping up to short left. Tigers left the bases loaded for the third time.
An electric Alburquerque breezed through the bottom of the ninth, striking out two in a 1-2-3 inning.
Once the Tigers went down in order in the top of the 10th, Joaquin Benoit entered the game in the bottom of the inning. Trout would reach out and loop a lead-off single to left.
Despite what you might imagine after the lead-off man reached, the game would not end in the 10th.
After Benoit nearly threw away a pick-off throw, Trout easily stole second. Pena both double clutched on the throw and forced Infante to use all of his vertical to keep the ball from sailing into center.
Pujols couldn't end the game, flying out to short left. Hamilton couldn't come through either, waving at a fastball for strike three and the second out.
Trumbo was intentionally walked in order to pitch to Kendrick, who was 1-6 for his career against Benoit. As Benoit went to 3-2 on Kendrick, the Angels pulled off a double steal, not drawing a throw. Not that it would make much difference, considering Trout's elite speed.
With the Angels crowd chanting "HOW-IE, HOW-IE", Benoit stuck out Kendrick on the ninth pitch of the at bat, swinging at what was probably ball four.
On to the 11th we went.
The Angels trotted out their fifth pitcher of the afternoon, righty Jerome Williams. Once again, the Tigers would go down in order, including Jackson and Hunter striking out.
Running out of arms, Leyland called on pitcher number four, Phil Coke, to start the bottom of the 11th. Didn't matter if he was facing three right-handed bats, Coke handled all three easily, striking out two.
There would be a 12th inning.
Cabrera led off with a single. That's good.
First-pitch swinging, Fielder popped up to short left. That's bad.
Martinez hit a Williams pitch on the screws, but the liner was right at Trout. That's being BABIP'd.
Don Kelly, who had entered the game in the 10th for Tuiasosopo, bounced out 5-3, Jimenez making a barehanded play. That's Donnie Baseball.
Coke came out for another inning, and struck out the first batter he faced, Bourjos. Trout was out on a can of corn to left. Pujols was given an intentional walk to get the lefty-lefty matchup with the slumping Hamilton. The move worked perfectly, Hamilton swinging through a Coke fastball for strike three.
On to the 13th, the game now pushing four-and-a-half hours.
Williams allowed a one-out single to Pena in the 13th, but that was the extent of the damage.
Living dangerously and tempting fate, but not having much choice, Leyland sent Coke out to the mound for a third inning.
Fate said, "ENOUGH. TIME TO END THIS."
Coke fell behind Trumbo 2-0, then 3-1. Then, game over, man. Game over.
Trumbo crushed a Coke breaking ball, clearing the fence in left for a walk-off solo home run. Trumbo's second home run of the season gave the Angels a 4-3 victory and three-game sweep.
The Tigers finish their only West Coast swing of the season 4-5 and with a four-game losing streak, falling to .500 on the season at 9-9. The Tigers have dropped into third place in the Central, one game back of the Royals, half a game behind the Twins. The three-game sweep pushes the Angels' record to 7-10, third place in the West.