Right fielder Josh Hamilton couldn’t have captured the emotions of his last few days, and the beauty of the game, better than he did Sunday after his 11th-inning two-run home run that gave the Angels a 9-7 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.
“You can make a stupid play one minute and a great one the next,” Hamilton said. “That’s what drives you crazy about the game and makes you love it. More times than not, it drives you crazy.”
Hamilton tripped and fell trying to field Daniel Nava’s eighth-inning double, and the error allowed Dustin Pedroia to score for a 7-3 Boston lead.
But Hamilton had a key hit in a four-run ninth inning, following Albert Pujols’ two-out, two-run single with a run-scoring single to right field. The tying run scored on third baseman Brandon Snyder’s error, and Hamilton won it in the 11th with his home run against left-hander Craig Breslow.
Hamilton also hit a score-tying, two-run home run in the ninth inning of the Angels’ 6-5, 10-inning win over St. Louis on Thursday night. Friday night, his error allowed a run to score in Boston’s 6-2 win.
Hamilton, emerging from a season-long funk, was one for three Sunday and has a 12-game hitting streak. He is hitting .372 (16 for 43) with two home runs and nine runs batted in during the stretch to raise his batting average from .207 to .230.
“I’m still not there,” Hamilton said. “For the most part, I feel good. It’s about focusing every time you’re up. You have a small window, you’ve got to clear everything out. I’m doing a better job of that and of having that confidence, going up there knowing what I can do.”
As of Sunday, Mark Trumbo had not been invited to the July 15 home run derby. If he is, he will probably decline.
“It’s a ‘no’ right now,” said Trumbo, who finished third in the event last year.
Trumbo, who leads the Angels with 19 home runs, said in June he would not participate in the derby if he was not an All-Star because “I think it’s awkward to do it if you’re not on the team.”
Trumbo was not selected to the American League team Sunday but could be considered as an injury replacement.
Trumbo hit .306 with 22 home runs and 57 RBIs before the break in 2012 and .227 with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs afterward. Though he didn’t blame his struggles on the derby, the event has been known to mess up swings.
“I’m not a fan of it,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “It’s grueling. The number of full-gorilla swings you take … it’s like being on a driving range and hitting 10 buckets of balls. It’s tough. I haven’t seen somebody come away from that derby and be a better player for it.”
Rested, not rusty
Somewhat lost in Saturday’s win was a superb outing by Ernesto Frieri, who, in his first game in six days, struck out two batters in a scoreless ninth inning and struck out the side — David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Nava — in the 10th.
The key, Frieri said, was an alteration in his pregame routine to accommodate for the downtime between appearances. He usually throws off flat ground before games, but last week he threw 15 to 20 pitches off a bullpen mound one day.
“I don’t want to feel too strong,” said Frieri, who has a 2.95 earned-run average and 22 saves. “When I’m too strong, I don’t know where the ball is going.”
Frieri looked dominant in the ninth inning Sunday, striking out three of the four batters he faced, two on 97-mph fastballs, one on a 96-mph fastball.
Reliever Sean Burnett (left elbow impingement) is scheduled to resume throwing Tuesday. … Tommy Hanson (right forearm strain) has resumed throwing and could return July 23, the next day the Angels need a fifth starter.