Mike Scioscia did what any manager would do against Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale, stacking the Angels lineup with eight right-handed batters in hopes of beating an ace who held left-handers hitless in 32 at-bats this season.
It didn't seem to matter through seven innings Saturday night, as Sale, the 6-foot-6, 180-pound left-hander with the funky delivery, 95-mph fastball and nasty slider, continued his dominance over the Angels, blanking them on three hits.
But the Angels finally measured Sale in the eighth, stunning him with a score-tying five-run outburst that was highlighted by Mike Trout's second career grand slam.
The Angels then rallied with two outs in the eighth against Jake Petricka, with Josh Hamilton, C.J. Cron and Erick Aybar hitting consecutive singles for the go-ahead run in an improbable 6-5 come-from-behind victory in Angel Stadium.
Trailing, 5-0, Aybar opened the eighth with a double to left and scored on Chris Iannetta's single to center. Shortstop Alexei Ramirez couldn't get the ball out of his glove after backhanding Collin Cowgill's grounder and both runners were safe.
Howie Kendrick slapped a single to right to load the bases, and Trout crushed a full-count changeup over the wall in center for a 5-5 tie.
Sale entered with a 5-0 record and 1.59 earned-run average this season and a 3-0 record and 0.38 ERA in six career games against the Angels, including a one-hit shutout May 12, 2013, in which Trout broke up Sale's bid for a perfect game with a one-out single in the seventh.
"Everything is flying at you, elbows and knees, and it's tough to pick up the ball," Trout said of Sale. "He's deceptive, for sure. He makes you jump when you're at the plate. It's always tough facing guys like that."
Before the game, the Angels sent hot-hitting utility player Grant Green to triple A so they could bolster their bullpen with right-hander Cory Rasmus.
The move fortified Cron as the team's primary designated hitter and backup first baseman and gave veteran DH Raul Ibanez, who is hitting .143, time to find his swing.
Green hit .359 in 22 games, and he is far more versatile than Cron, with an ability to play four infield positions and left field. But Cron's power, clutch hitting and ability to spell first baseman Albert Pujols on days Pujols starts at DH gave him a considerable edge over Green.
Cron entered Saturday with a .299 average, three home runs and 14 RBIs and a .444 mark (12 for 27) with runners in scoring position.
"Grant definitely has shown what he can do in the major leagues, but we have to get back to 12 pitchers, and I think the first base coverage with C.J. is important," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "The situation is fluid, but right now, this was a move we had to make."
Scioscia said Ibanez will DH against some right-handers "but when a guy is performing well, he will get more looks."
Green's next looks will come for Salt Lake.
"I talked to him before he left, and he was obviously kind of upset," Cron said. "I told him I'm sorry to see him go. He did everything he can to stay, but you can't play with 26 guys. Unfortunately, that's how it works sometimes."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times