Albert Pujols fouls off a pitch in the first inning. (Chris O'Meara / Associated…)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—B.J. Upton singled and pinch-hitter Brandon Allen followed with a two-run home run to right field with one out in the ninth inning Thursday to give the Tampa Bay Rays a dramatic 4-3 walk-off victory over the Angels.
The Angels were poised to snap their three-game losing streak after Jerome Williams gave them seven strong innings, allowing two runs and five hits, striking out six and walking three, and Scott Downs threw a scoreless eighth and got the first out of the ninth.
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia turned to closer Jordan Walden, but Upton flicked his bat at a 97-mph fastball, grounding a single to right field, and Allen crushed his first homer of the season and first walk-off hit of his career to extend the Angels’ losing streak to four games.
Angels right fielder Mark Trumbo had broken up Matt Moore’s no-hitter with a solo home run—his third of the season—to lead off the fifth and keyed a two-run sixth with a run-scoring double.
It appeared the sixth inning would end in more frustration for the Angels when Albert Pujols snapped an 0-for-21 skid, the longest hitless streak of his career, with a ground-ball single to center and was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double for the second out of the inning.
But Torii Hunter lined a single to right field and Trumbo doubled to the gap in right-center to score Hunter for a 2-1 lead, the Angels’ first lead in 26 innings dating back to Sunday’s game against Baltimore.
Trumbo took third when second baseman Ben Zobrist’s relay throw to the plate in an attempt to get Hunter bounced away from catcher Jose Molina. Vernon Wells then beat out a grounder up the middle for an infield single that scored Trumbo and gave the Angels a 3-1 lead.
Williams retired the first two batters in the bottom of the sixth before walking Luke Scott with two outs. Matt Joyce followed with a drive to right-center that barely eluded the glove of a diving Trumbo and bounced to the wall for an RBI triple that pulled the Rays to within 3-2.
But Williams rebounded, striking out B.J. Upton on three pitches to end the inning. Williams made a similar recovery after Desmond Jennings led off the first with an infield single and scored on Zobrist’s double to right field.
Williams picked off Zobrist at second, struck out Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria to end the inning and allowed only two hits while blanking Tampa Bay from the second through fifth innings.
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