The Angels and Boston Red Sox played 19 innings over 6 hours and 31 minutes in a game that started Saturday night and bled into Sunday morning, the second-longest game in terms of time in Angels history and one inning shy of franchise-record 20-inning games in 1971 and 1982.
So, what was another minute and half to them?
That was how long the Angels had to wait to celebrate -- in earnest-- Albert Pujols’ leadoff home run in the bottom of the 19th inning, a shot that bounced off the top of the right-center field wall and went nearly straight up before landing on the warning track and was confirmed by video review.
“It was a little different not being able to storm Pujols completely after that,” said Matt Shoemaker, who earned the win by throwing three innings of hitless relief just three days after throwing 102 pitches against the Dodgers. “As soon as he hit it and it bounced up, we thought it would be reviewed.”
Pujols’ first walk-off homer as an Angel ended a grueling game in which both teams used nine pitchers, and both teams scored in the 14th inning. The first pitch was at 6:08 p.m. on Saturday. The last pitch was at 12:39 a.m. on Sunday.
“Is this the pregame for tomorrow, too?” Manager Mike Scioscia joked at the beginning of his postgame news conference. “That was a grind. Our guys, they were wound up.
“The adrenaline of a game like this keeps you going, but certainly, they’re going to feel it tomorrow. I think both teams will. We’re used to playing nine innings, and we played, what, 19 innings? But in the end, we got it done.”
Pujols started the game at first base and moved to third after Scioscia used first baseman C.J. Cron to pinch-hit for third baseman John McDonald in the 14th inning.
Pujols, who hadn’t played third base in a game since 2012, fielded David Ortiz’s grounder near the second-base position, as the Angels shifted to the right side against the Red Sox slugger, to end the top of the 19th inning.
“I can’t say enough about Albert, not just the home run, but his willingness to go play third base, then play second base in the triangle,” Scioscia said. “He just loves playing the game, and that made some things possible for us to win.”
Boston took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 14th when Dustin Pedroia singled with one out, stole second and, with the Angels shifted toward the right side on Ortiz, swiped third when reliever Cory Rasmus failed to cover the bag. Ortiz followed with a sacrifice fly.
The Angels tied it in the bottom of the 14th when Chris Iannetta led off with a pinch-hit double, Efren Navarro walked, Kole Calhoun singled to load the bases and Mike Trout, who hit a score-tying homer in the eighth, knocked in a run with a fielder’s choice.
But Pujols grounded out and Josh Hamilton struck out to end the inning. Pujols, who hit a two-run double in the first inning, also grounded out with two on and one out in the 10th. But his game-winning homer helped the Angels snap a season-high four-game losing streak.
“Twice, I had a chance to give the team the lead, and I didn’t come through,” Pujols said. “You just need to stay positive and look for a pitch to hit. In [the 19th] I just want to start the inning with a hit and get into scoring position. Obviously, I got a good pitch to hit and put my best swing of the second half on it.”
Shoemaker was scheduled to start Tuesday night against Philadelphia, but his relief outing Saturday night will push his next start back to next weekend. Scioscia said C.J. Wilson, who was scheduled to start Wednesday night with an extra day of rest, will pitch Tuesday against the Phillies.
Jered Weaver will likely start Wednesday night on regular rest. Hector Santiago will pitch Sunday’s series finale against the Red Sox.
Asked how much longer Shoemaker could have gone had the game not ended in the 19th inning, and who would have followed him to the mound, Scioscia said, “another 20 to 30 pitches, but I’m glad we didn’t have to find out. Hector could have probably finished this one and stayed warm enough to start tomorrow, too.”
Garrett Richards started for the Angels and had a no-hitter through six innings before yielding three hits and three runs in the seventh, though only one was earned. Errors by shortstop Erick Aybar and second baseman Howie Kendrick contributed to the Red Sox rally.
Kevin Jepsen, Joe Smith, Huston Street, Fernando Salas, Cam Bedrosian, Rasmus, Jason Grilli and Shoemaker, who also threw a light bullpen workout before the game, then combined to give up just one run and three hits in 12 2/3 innings to give the Angels a chance.
“We used our whole bullpen, we all fought, and they came in and did a good job,” Pujols said. “This tells you something about our ballclub. The way we played the last five games, we could have easily just said, ‘Screw it, let’s come in tomorrow and try to win.'
“But after Ortiz’s sacrifice fly, Chris came back and got a huge pinch-hit double to start the inning, and we tied the game. Hopefully a game like this can turn things around the way we want to. If that’s the case, it’s worth it to play 19 innings.”Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times