Angels reserve catcher Ryan Budde pulled off a rare double-double Monday night, evoking the memory of Adam Riggs and beating the New York Yankees with one clutch swing of the bat in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Budde, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth, followed Howie Kendrick's one-out double to right field by slicing a run-scoring double to right-center for his first major league RBI to lift the Angels to a 7-6 walk-off victory over the Yankees in Angel Stadium.
The well-placed hit, which fell just beyond the outstretched glove of center fielder Melky Cabrera, was reminiscent of another game-winner to beat the Yankees by an obscure Angel -- the seldom-used Riggs' bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 11th for a 1-0 win over New York on May 18, 2004.
Monday night's dramatics were delivered by a player making his 12th big league plate appearance, a 28-year-old the Angels lost to Philadelphia in last winter's Rule 5 draft but reacquired early this season when the Phillies failed to keep Budde on their major league roster.
Budde's second career hit, off reliever Sean Henn, also enabled the Angels to remain two games ahead of Seattle in the American League West while dropping the Yankees five games behind Boston in the AL East.
"Wow, that's all I can say," a beaming Budde said afterward. "This is the greatest moment of my life, baseball or otherwise. There's nothing like playing the Yankees and getting a big hit."
Budde was not certain it would be a hit. "It seemed like an eternity" for the ball to drop, he said. Once it did, the Angels flooded onto the field to celebrate an emotional victory that improved their major league-best home record to 41-17 and their record against the Yankees to 60-54 since 1996.
"It's a dream come true," Budde said. "I've been looking forward to getting into the big leagues all my life. I get here, and something good happens. Now, if I can stick around a little while . . ."
The previous two innings had ended in frustration for the Angels, who put runners on second and third with one out in the eighth against Kyle Farnsworth and with two out in the ninth against closer Mariano Rivera but couldn't score.
In the eighth, Yankees first baseman Wilson Betemit made a superb, back-handed stab of Maicer Izturis' one-hop smash and threw out Gary Matthews Jr. at home, and Reggie Willits struck out to end inning. In the ninth, Matthews grounded to second after two-out singles by Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson.
Left-hander Darren Oliver retired the side in order in the top of the 10th to gain the win, after closer Francisco Rodriguez threw a scoreless ninth for the Angels.
The Yankees erased a 6-4 deficit in the eighth when Jorge Posada hit a two-run homer off Angels reliever Justin Speier, a temporary eighth-inning replacement for struggling setup man Scot Shields.
Alex Rodriguez had given the Yankees a 4-3 lead in the sixth when he followed Bobby Abreu's leadoff single to center by lining reliever Chris Bootcheck's 1-and-0 pitch over the left-field wall for a two-run homer, his 40th this season and the 504th of his career, 56 of those coming against the Angels.
The ball shot like a cannon off Rodriguez's bat, producing a stadium radar-gun reading of "05" because the monitor is only capable of double-digit figures. The actual velocity of the ball off Rodriguez's bat, confirmed by the speed-gun operator: 105 mph.
Or, roughly the speed the Angels seemed to spin around the bases in the seventh.
Yankees starter Phil Hughes, the 21-year-old right-hander who only three years ago was pitching a few miles down the road at Santa Ana Foothill High, had limited the Angels to three runs through six innings, his one glaring mistake a hanging, first-pitch curve that Jeff Mathis belted for a three-run double in the second.
But Kendrick, playing in his first game since July 7, led off the seventh with a single, and after Mathis flied to center, Willits walked.
Manager Joe Torre pulled Hughes in favor of Luis Vizcaino, and Chone Figgins lined an RBI single to center, tying the score, 4-4, and advancing Willits to third.
Orlando Cabrera followed with a ground-ball RBI single to right to score Willits for a 5-4 lead, and the speedy Figgins raced to third just ahead of Abreu's throw.
That enabled Figgins to score on Guerrero's ensuing chopper over the mound, a groundout that gave the Angels what turned out to be a very short-lived 6-4 lead.