BALTIMORE — The Angels had lost 11 of 15 games and were in danger of dropping three straight in Camden Yards when they trailed the Baltimore Orioles by two runs after six innings Wednesday, the situation looking as bleak as any they've faced in this highly disappointing season.
"We could have easily said, 'Screw that, we have a day off tomorrow, let's get swept,' but that's not the attitude we have," slugger Albert Pujols said. "Everyone stayed positive. We fought back. We had good, quality at-bats."
The best ones were provided by Erick Aybar and Pujols, Aybar hitting a three-run triple and Pujols a two-run home run to highlight a six-run seventh inning that led the Angels to a 9-5 come-from-behind victory over the Orioles.
BOX SCORE: Angels 9, Baltimore 5
The Angels sent 10 men to the plate in the seventh, and the six runs were the most they've scored in the seventh inning or later this season. It was the kind of clutch-hitting rally the Angels believe they are capable of but has eluded them for much of the season. It was the kind of win that could spark a push toward .500.
But there have been similar rallies and victories this season, including an eight-game winning streak in May, and the Angels haven't sustained much momentum.
"This is really big," said Jerome Williams, who gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings and went from potential loser to winner in the seventh. "Hopefully, we can take this and keep rolling."
Baltimore scored twice in the first inning when Nate McLouth singled, Manny Machado doubled and Nick Markakis and Adam Jones hit run-scoring groundouts.
Hank Conger hit a home run in the third inning, and Howie Kendrick followed Josh Hamilton's two-out single with a run-scoring double to right-center field in the fourth to tie the score, 2-2.
Chris Davis' major league-leading 21st home run in the fourth and Adam Jones' home run in the sixth gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead.
But Alberto Callaspo led off the seventh with a single, Brad Hawpe walked, and reliever Pedro Strop deflected Conger's potential double-play chopper up the middle, the ball dribbling into the infield grass for a single.
"It was definitely a break," Conger said. "Not too many of those have been going our way lately, so that was huge."
Up stepped Aybar, who began the game with a .257 average but capped a 12-pitch at-bat, the second-longest plate appearance of his career, with a single in the third inning.
Aybar lined a bases-clearing triple to the gap in right-center field and scored when second baseman Ryan Flaherty's relay throw got by third for an error, giving the Angels a 6-4 lead.
J.B. Shuck drew a two-out walk and Pujols lined a two-run shot to left field, his 486th home run, for an 8-4 lead.
"We've left a lot of guys on base this year," Aybar said. "When we put everything together, everyone knows we have a good team."
Relievers Dane De La Rosa, Kevin Jepsen and Ernesto Frieri closed out the game for the Angels, who are 28-38 and still far out of contention in the American League West. But at least they can feel a little better about themselves going into a weekend series against the New York Yankees in Anaheim.
"No doubt, wins are important, but we need to focus on the process," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "The same way we lost 11 of 15 games, we have the capability of winning 20 of 25 if we get into our game. We need to keep focusing on that process, and today, that process was great."