The Angels did not gain any ground Tuesday night on the first-place Texas Rangers, who remain 10 games ahead of them in the American League West.
Nor did they gain ground on the wild-card leading Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics, who lead the Angels by 41/2 games.
But they did gain some satisfaction and, they hope, some much-needed momentum with a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Boston Red Sox, scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth on Mike Trout's run-scoring single and Torii Hunter's game-winning sacrifice fly for their third walk-off win of the season.
"We still want to win the division — we could win 10 or 15 games in a row and Texas could lose 10 in a row, you never know," said Hunter, the eternal optimist. "It's almost September. The end is near. We're just grinding it out every day, trying to get it done."
They got it done in familiar fashion against the gutted-out Red Sox in a rematch of Thursday night's crazy 14-13, 10-inning win in Fenway Park, in which the Angels erased three deficits.
Trailing, 5-4, and facing Boston closer Alfredo Aceves, who was coming off a three-game suspension for "conduct detrimental to the team" and retired the side in order in the eighth, Erick Aybar was hit by a pitch with one out in the ninth.
Aybar stole second, and pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo walked. Trout, who had hit a 445-foot home run in the first, fell behind, 0-and-2, on the count.
Aceves jammed Trout with a 95-mph fastball, shattering his bat, but Trout got just enough of his handle on the ball to fist a single to center that scored Aybar for a 5-5 tie and sent Callaspo to third.
"I'd be a little frustrated to give up a hit like that," said Angels ace Jered Weaver, who gave up five runs — four earned—and seven hits in seven innings. "You have him 0-2, you don't want to throw a pitch near the zone. He made a good pitch and jammed him, but Trout is obviously a strong guy and fought it off."
Up stepped Hunter, who, with Trout on second, one out in the seventh and the Angels down, 5-4, popped out on a bunt attempt.
Hunter made another out, but his fly ball to deep center easily scored Callaspo, giving the Angels their third win in 58 games in which they've trailed after eight innings and second win in 52 games in which they've trailed after seven.
"I told myself to try to get a pitch up," Hunter said. "Don't try to do too much. Don't try too hard. Keep it simple, stupid, and it worked."
Kevin Jepsen threw a scoreless ninth for the win. Garrett Richards struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia with two on to end the eighth, as the Angels ended a two-game losing streak.
Trout's first-inning homer was his 25th of the season, making the 21-year-old the youngest player in major league history and the first rookie to reach 25 homers and 40 stolen bases. A walk, an Albert Pujols single and Mark Trumbo's sacrifice fly made it 2-0.
But the Red Sox cut the lead in half on Saltalamacchia's solo homer in the second. They scored three in the fourth, which featured RBI singles by James Loney and Saltalamacchia and 33 pitches by Weaver. Ryan Lavarnway's sacrifice fly in the sixth gave Boston a 5-2 lead.
But Pujols, who missed the previous four games because of a calf injury, drove his 29th homer, a solo shot, into the rock pile beyond the center-field wall, and Howie Kendrick extended his hitting streak to 14 games with an RBI double in the sixth, and the Angels rallied in the ninth for the win.
"Wins are definitely what we need, and walk-off wins can be good momentum bursts," Weaver said. "Hopefully, we can carry this into tomorrow."