Jared Walsh nestled a 203-foot popup between Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus and left fielder Hunter Pence for a pinch-hit, game-winning single in the ninth inning Saturday night, capping a two-run rally that gave the Angels a 3-2 walk-off win over the Rangers before 36,392 in Angel Stadium.
“He got enough of it to end the game and get us the win,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “That’s all I cared about.”
After Texas scored twice off closer Hansel Robles in the top of the ninth for a 2-1 lead, speedy rookie Luis Rengifo singled with one out in the bottom of the ninth and scored on Kole Calhoun’s double to right-center.
Zack Cozart flied to center for the second out, but Walsh followed with his well-placed hit to snap the Angels’ five-game losing streak and the Rangers’ five-game winning streak.
“I think he actually ran through a stop sign, but I guess I won’t penalize him for it,” Ausmus said of Rengifo, who easily beat Rougned Odor’s wide relay to the plate. “He was safe.”
When Rengifo saw the ball go into the gap, he thought he could score. He vaguely remembers third-base coach Mike Gallego putting his arms up, “but I couldn’t stop,” he said.
Calhoun hit a solo homer off Rangers left-hander Mike Minor in the third inning, but the Angels failed to score after loading the bases with no outs in the fifth and putting a leadoff man on second in the eighth.
Tyler Skaggs, mixing a fastball that touched 94 mph and a curve he threw between 68 and 75 mph, allowed three hits, struck out seven and walked two in 5-2/3 shutout innings.
Ty Buttrey got Asdrubal Cabrera to pop out with the bases loaded to end the sixth inning and retired the side in order in the seventh. Robles got Joey Gallo to pop out with a runner on third to end the eighth but walked Logan Forsythe to open the ninth.
Ronald Guzman roped an RBI double to right-center to tie the score 1-1, and Odor followed with an RBI single to center for a 2-1 Rangers lead. The Angels did not trail for long.
“It was a little bit of a roller coaster,” Ausmus said of the ninth inning. “We hadn’t had a walk-off all year, so we were due.”