‘There’s just no giving up.’ Angels snap skid in wildest of ways, beating the Astros

Angels players celebrate with Taylor Ward on the field.
Angels players celebrate with Taylor Ward, center, after the team’s 13-12 walk-off win over the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium on Saturday night.
(Ryan Sun / Associated Press)
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It was the seventh-inning rally. Or perhaps the one in the ninth. Or maybe the extra-inning pitching.

There’s no wrong answer to the question what the turning point was during the Angels’ 13-12, extra-inning walk-off win over the Houston Astros. It was a jam-packed game that included recovering from a six-run deficit, then a three-run deficit, shutting out the Astros through the 10th inning and winning on a throwing error by the opposing team.

The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for the Angels (46-47), but felt more important than simply adding another tick to the win column.


“To say it was needed was an understatement,” manager Phil Nevin said.

The Angels have been grinding through their past three weeks of games with injuries mounting, inconsistent play and a pressure to win that will only intensify as they draw closer to the Aug. 1 trade deadline.

But on Saturday, the Angels beat the Astros (51-42), a team they trail in the American League West and in the AL Wild Card picture. A team that has been a playoff contender during seven of the last eight seasons, won two World Series championships during that span and has established a winning culture.

“If anyone ever says this team doesn’t care, doesn’t fight, doesn’t play hard, I’ll fight anyone who says that.”

— Angels manager Phil Nevin

And the Angels did it despite a lot of mistakes.

“We found a way to come back and win as a team,” Mike Moustakas said. “I think that that proves to all of us in this clubhouse that we can do that and it was a lot of fun the way it ended.”

Rookie Trey Cabbage started the bottom of the 10th inning as the Angels’ runner at second base, with Shohei Ohtani on first after being intentionally walked and Taylor Ward at the plate with two outs remaining.

Ward hit a grounder to second. Astros shortstop Grae Kessinger, who was subbed into the game that inning, fielded the ball and tagged Ohtani out. But Kessinger’s double play throw to first sailed wide, allowing Cabbage, whom the Angels called up Friday, to score the game-winning run.

What could the win do for this team moving forward?

“You never know,” Ward said. “You never know. So we show up tomorrow and hopefully it just continues. Especially with the offense.”


The Angels’ first comeback of the night was spurred by home runs from Zach Neto and Moustakas and an RBI single by Eduardo Escobar, erasing a six-run deficit and tying the game 9-9 in the bottom of the seventh.

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“Put up a six-spot and ever since then, you had that feeling,” Angels starting pitcher Reid Detmers said. “It was a weird game to start out with, but I don’t know, just a good feeling in the stomach.”

Houston reclaimed the lead on a two-run home run by Chas McCormick off Angels reliever Matt Moore in the eighth.

Ohtani ignited the Angels’ second comeback with his major league-leading 33rd home run in the bottom of the ninth. Ward, Mickey Moniak and Escobar followed with singles to load the bases. A passed ball by Astros catcher Martín Maldonado, with Moustakas at the plate, allowed Ward to score.

“There’s just no giving up on our team,” Ward said. “We just continue to fight and I think [Ohtani’s home run] was the spark that ultimately won us the game.”

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The Angels tied the game on an RBI single by Hunter Renfroe. Closer Carlos Estévez navigated around the Astros’ automatic runner on second in the top of the 10th to maintain the tie.


The Angels became the first MLB team to face a six or more run deficit in the seventh inning or later, erase that deficit, then fall behind again by three or more runs and win the game since the Phillies’ win over the Pirates on Sept. 16, 1930, according to OptaSTATS.

“If anyone ever says this team doesn’t care, doesn’t fight, doesn’t play hard, I’ll fight anyone who says that,” Nevin said.