Mike Trout saves Angels from ninth-inning letdown

Mike Trout's leaping catch at the center-field wall ends a nail-biter of a 6-5 victory over the Athletics

Huston Street's shoulder, elbow, lower back, groin and knee were wrapped in ice Thursday afternoon, normal postgame maintenance for a high-mileage reliever with more than 10 years in the big leagues.

Had the Angels closer celebrated Mike Trout's leaping, twisting, over-the-shoulder catch at the center-field wall with the bases loaded to end a nail-biter of a 6-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics with any more vigor, Street would have needed another ice pack for his rib cage.

"I about pulled an oblique doing a fist pump," said Street, who escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam to record his ninth save. "That's why he's the most valuable player. He could have been the MVP every year he's been in the game. He's just one of those special talents, a clutch player."

Trout's acrobatic catch of Ike Davis' drive was not as spectacular as some of his leaping, home run-robbing grabs above the wall, but it saved a game in which the Angels nearly blew a 6-2 ninth-inning lead and came with a degree of difficulty that only a defender in the Oakland Coliseum can appreciate.

"What people don't realize in this park is where that sun is during a day game," said Angels left fielder Collin Cowgill, who had the closest view of Trout's catch. "It's literally right in your vision, above home plate.

"For him to go back on that ball, which was slicing off the bat of a left-hander and in the sun, to make that kind of play with the bases loaded? Unbelievable. I mean, that's what he does. He wows us. And he makes it look so easy, man. It's not."

It was Trout's second difference-making play of an inning that started with first baseman C.J. Cron misplaying Billy Butler's foul pop for an error. Butler walked, Josh Reddick singled, and Manager Mike Scioscia pulled Vinnie Pestano in favor of Street.

Brett Lawrie and Mark Canha hit run-scoring singles to pull the A's to within 6-4. Both advanced on a wild pitch, and Stephen Vogt walked to load the bases. Max Muncy popped out to shortstop Erick Aybar, who made a difficult catch backpedaling into left for the first out.

Sam Fuld dunked an RBI single in front of Trout to make it 6-5, but Canha had to hold to make sure the ball would drop and advanced only to third. Trout fielded the hit cleanly and made a quick throw to the infield to keep the bases loaded.

"That play won't be talked about, but it's probably equally as big," Street said. "He fields that ball perfectly, gets it in quick and they don't score from second. It speaks to his intelligence as a player, because a lot of guys come in and try to make a diving catch."

A younger, 20-year-old Trout might have dived. A more mature, 23-year-old Trout did not.

"I was in between," Trout said. "I knew if I dive and make the catch, that's one thing, but if I dive and let the ball get by me, it might have lost the game. So I had to keep it in front of me and get the ball in as quick as I can."

Marcus Semien popped to second for the second out, with Johnny Giavotella making a nice running catch in shallow right field, spinning and throwing home to hold the runners.

Davis followed with a drive to straight-away center and deep. Trout got a good jump, raced back, leaped at the warning track, reached back and caught the ball behind his head, landing on one foot before smacking into the wall.

Instead of a devastating walk-off loss, the Angels held on for a dramatic win, making six runs, 12 hits and Garrett Richards' six-inning, one-run, four-hit effort hold up.

"That's a game you can't give back," Street said. "You're up, 6-0, in the seventh, your hitters have delivered early, G-Rich pitched a great game … so when that ball goes into Trout's glove, it was very much excitement and a huge sigh of relief."


Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna

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