NEW YORK -- It was one of the more unlikely wins for the Angels in recent history, as there were several times where they looked like they were headed for a sure loss to the Yankees. Two-way star Shohei Ohtani gave up seven runs in the first, and the club was down by three runs during a lengthy rain delay in the fifth after the game had already reached official status.
But the Angels waited out the 91-minute rain delay, which was the second of the game, and it worked out perfectly, as they overcame a four-run deficit in the ninth by scoring seven runs in an unbelievable 11-8 win on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. The game didn’t end until after 1 a.m. local time and the Angels made history in the city that never sleeps, as they became the first team in the modern era (since 1900) to allow at least seven runs in the first and score at least seven runs in the ninth to win, according to Stats by STATS.
"Since I've been here, that's probably the craziest best result we've had," said manager Joe Maddon, who took over as skipper last season. "I've been involved in games like that with the Cubs. You get a break like that and all of a sudden, it can really catapult the group. That's what I'm looking for. I want to see a bump out of this. I want us to understand what it takes to win and against a team in a very unfriendly environment. There's nothing better than a win here or at Fenway."
First baseman Jared Walsh was the hero, as he connected on a game-tying grand slam off closer Aroldis Chapman, who had issues with his control, as he walked the bases loaded. It was the second homer of the game for Walsh, who also connected on a solo shot in the fifth. Walsh now has 20 blasts on the year, but his shot off Chapman was just his fifth off a lefty. It was the first grand slam allowed by Chapman in his career.
“Euphoria, that’s the only way I can describe it,” Walsh said. “It was great. He's one of the best closers I've seen over the last decade. I've got a ton of respect for him. It's a pretty special moment to do that against someone I respect as much as I do."
Walsh’s homer knocked Chapman from the game, but the Angels weren’t done, scoring three more times against reliever Lucas Luetge to take the lead. Phil Gosselin drew a walk and advanced to third on a single from David Fletcher, who extended his hit streak to 15 games.
It set the stage for a two-out pinch-hit single from Luis Rengifo that scored both Gosselin and Fletcher after he stole second base. Taylor Ward followed with a double down the left-field line to give the Angels an insurance run.
"The fact the guys didn't expand the strike zone and accepted walks was large," Maddon said. "We passed the baton. Rengifo came through big time."
It was enough for closer Raisel Iglesias, who threw a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up the save and preserve the unlikely victory. Iglesias was the eighth pitcher used by the Angels, who also emptied their bench because they lost the designated hitter when Ohtani departed after just two-thirds of an inning. A total of 19 Angels players saw action in the wild win, and Maddon said it's why he loves playing a game that essentially had National League rules.
"I love National League baseball -- you will not get that kind of a game with American League rules," Maddon said. "Everybody by the end of that night took part in that victory. We used all our position players and just about every bullpen guy available. Everybody's a part of that victory, and it feels good when you get a win like that. Everybody has part ownership in that one, and I love it.”