Mike Trout is not easily impressed with himself. Saturday night, he could not help himself. When he returned to Earth, he mouthed several words, including this one: Wow.
Trout made one of the most spectacular catches of this or any other year, pushing himself several feet above the outfield wall to electrify Angel Stadium and rejuvenate the home team.
The catch might live forever on “SportsCenter.” On this night, however, the catch was not the most important development for the Angels, or the decisive play.
In the top of the ninth inning, they lost closer Huston Street to injury. In the bottom of the ninth, David Freese hit a walk-off home run, lifting the Angels to an emotional 3-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
The Angels remained one-half game behind the Houston Astros for the final spot in the American League wild-card race. The Angels have eight games left.
It appears unlikely that Street could pitch in any of those games. Manager Mike Scioscia said Street has a groin injury that is “not good.” Scioscia did not put a timetable on a recovery, but Street sat out 13 days because of a groin injury in July.
Joe Smith, the setup man, normally would replace Street as closer. Smith is out with a sprained ankle, and the Angels are uncertain whether he can return before the regular season ends.
However, in the wake of Street’s injury, Smith said he might try to throw off a mound Sunday and accelerate his return.
Street, scurrying to back up a base on a routine ground ball, got off the mound cleanly, then took an awkward step and collapsed. He got up and tried to walk off the field on his own but had to be helped back to the dugout. That could leave rookie Trevor Gott as the closer, although Scioscia said he would try a committee approach.
If not for Trout’s catch, the Angels would have been staring at a four-run deficit and Felix Hernandez on the mound. But Trout’s wondrous feat kept the deficit at one run — and, two innings later, C.J. Cron tied the score with a home run.
Freese, a World Series hero for the St. Louis Cardinals, won the game in the ninth with the first walk-off home run of his career — regular season, that is.
The outlook did not look promising for the home team before Trout donned his cape.
The Angels scored a run in the first inning, but the Mariners had answered with a run in the second and one more in the third, and their first two batters singled in the fourth.
Jesus Montero drove a ball deep to center field, an apparent home run for an apparent 5-1 lead. But Trout raced back to the base of the outfield wall, 396 feet from home plate.
Trout leaped, grabbed the top of the wall with his right hand, pushed himself up and extended his left hand several feet above the wall, then reached back to snare the ball. He descended, threw the ball back to the infield, then punched the air and shouted with competitive glee.
“I 100% knew it was going out,” Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney said. “I was in disbelief.”
Trout said he thought the ball was “way gone,” but he timed his leap perfectly. Then he turned around to watch the replay.
“Pretty cool,” he said.
Really, if you have not yet seen the video, go turn on ESPN.
“I’m sure we’ll see that all morning,” Freese said.
Jered Weaver (7-12, 4.86 ERA) faces the Mariners’ Hisashi Iwakuma (9-4, 3.67) at 12:35 p.m. Sunday at Angel Stadium. TV: Fox Sports West; Radio: 830, 1330.