Howie Kendrick celebrates hitting the game-winning home run -- his second… (Lisa Blumenfeld / Getty…)
A frustration-filled game ended in jubilation for the Angels on Tuesday night when Howie Kendrick hit the team's second walk-off home run in three days, a solo shot to center that gave the Angels a 5-4, 11-inning victory over the Texas Rangers.
"It's a great feeling to know you can leave the other team on the field, but to get the victory is the most important thing," Kendrick said after his fourth career walk-off hit. "Any game against these guys is really tough because neither team lays down."
A pair of Angels errors, one physical, one mental, allowed Texas to tie the score in the eighth, and after loading the bases with one out in the 10th, the Angels failed to score when Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton grounded out.
BOX SCORE: Angels 5, Texas 4 (F/11)
But right-hander Dane De La Rosa boosted a beleaguered bullpen by retiring the side in order in the 10th and 11th innings, and Kendrick, who hit a run-scoring single in the first and a two-run homer in the fourth, came through with his game-winner off left-hander Joe Ortiz in the 11th.
Kendrick's heroics would not have been possible without left fielder Mike Trout's game-saving catch in the ninth. With a runner on third, two outs and the score tied, 4-4, Adrian Beltre lined a shot into the corner that looked like a run-scoring double.
But Trout got a great jump, raced toward the short wall and made a diving catch on the warning track to end the inning.
"I couldn't believe it," Beltre said. "When I hit the ball, I saw where he was playing and I saw the ball hooking. I thought he had no chance. I was wrong. It's not fair. It's not fair for them to have three center fielders playing the outfield here."
Texas left fielder Jeff Baker made a superb catch in the same area in the first inning but bruised his right knee when he crashed into the wall and had to come out of the game, a play that was on Trout's mind.
"It was hooking away from me, and the only chance I thought I'd have would be to dive and brace myself for hitting the wall," Trout said. "I was close but landed about a foot away. It would have hurt."
Said Angels Manager Mike Scioscia: "When you run as fast and as hard as Mike, it's tough to decelerate and stop. But he had one thing in mind, to catch that baseball. He closed a lot of ground in a short amount of time and made a spectacular catch."
The Rangers trailed, 4-0, in the sixth when Nelson Cruz blasted a three-run homer off starter Jason Vargas.
Four batters into the eighth, the lead was gone, but it would be unfair to blame reliever Scott Downs.
Downs gave up a single to Beltre, and Cruz followed with a hard grounder to the shortstop hole. Third baseman Luis Jimenez got a little too exuberant, diving so far to his left that he screened shortstop Andrew Romine.
Cruz's grounder slipped through Romine's legs for an error, putting runners on first and third. A.J. Pierzynski grounded to first baseman Mark Trumbo, who threw home when Beltre came about halfway down the line.
But Beltre scooted back to third. With the bases loaded, Downs got David Murphy to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, but Beltre scored to make it 4-4.
"We had the game set up," Scioscia said. "It just took us a little longer than we wanted."