Rendon's 1st road HR comes at home, wins it

Angels sweep 'weird' twin bill, including nightcap as away team

September 6th, 2020

It wasn’t quite a walk-off homer, but it felt like one for Angels third baseman , who smacked a go-ahead three-run blast in the seventh and final inning against the Astros in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader.

But the Halos were serving as the visiting team at Angel Stadium for the first time because it was a makeup of a postponed game that was set to take place in Houston on Aug. 26, so it wasn't a game-ender. It still got the job done, however, as Rendon lifted the Angels to a 7-6 win and a doubleheader sweep, with Ty Buttrey throwing a scoreless seventh to preserve their second victory of the day.

Mike Trout and Jo Adell starred in Game 1, as Trout hit career homer No. 300, while Adell robbed a homer, crushed a solo shot and hit a walk-off two run single in the opener.

Rendon was the hero in the second game, though, as he came up big when it mattered most. But even he was confused and initially believed his homer off right-hander Humberto Castellanos had ended the game. Castellanos and first baseman Yuli Gurriel also started to walk off the field, thinking it was over as well.

“Without a doubt,” Rendon said. “When I hit it, I saw Gurriel walking a little bit and the pitcher took a couple steps, I believe. As I was rounding the bases, I was like 'Wait, wait, wait, it's not over yet.'" 

The Angels entered the seventh down, 6-4, but Justin Upton singled and Trout walked with one out to bring Rendon to the plate. Rendon jumped all over a first-pitch 89-mph sinker from Castellanos and pulled it down the left-field line for his seventh homer of the year. In a fun twist, it was the first road homer of the season for Rendon, although all seven have come at Angel Stadium.

“Their pitcher thought it was a walk-off, so he started walking for the hills after the homer,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s weird. Seven innings. Everything about it. But this year is about making adjustments and being nimble.”

But the Angels wouldn’t have been in that position without a strong night at the plate from Albert Pujols. Making his first start in the field since Wednesday, Pujols went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a walk.

Pujols, 40, helped spark two-run rallies in both the fourth and fifth innings. After Trout doubled to lead off the fourth, Pujols smacked an RBI single to left with one out on a first-pitch fastball from right-hander Jose Urquidy. The Angels loaded the bases, and Pujols scored on a groundout from Franklin Barreto, who was robbed of a hit on a diving stop and throw from shortstop Carlos Correa.

Pujols came through again in the fifth, when he dropped in a two-out, two-run single to right to score Luis Rengifo and Upton and tie the game at 4. Trout had previously moved over Rengifo and Upton with a fly ball to right, ending his stretch of reaching base safely in 11 of 12 plate appearances against the Astros. Pujols' two-run single gave him 175 career RBIs in 291 games against Houston, his most against any club.

“He feels like he should be out there everyday, but he doesn’t let it get to him,” Rendon said. “He's still an amazing teammate, and he still goes out there and does his work, and then he's out there ready to play whenever he's in the lineup.”

But the Angels quickly lost the lead in the bottom of the fifth, with reliever Jacob Barnes giving up a two-run homer to George Springer. Adell, who robbed Springer of a leadoff homer in right field in Game 1, nearly took away another homer in center this time, but it hit off his glove to give Springer his second home run of the game.

The Angels, though, won yet another game with a late rally, as they were victorious via walk-offs on Friday and in Saturday's Game 1. After improving to 16-25, they'll be looking for a four-game sweep of the Astros on Sunday.

"Our record's not the best, yet the group comes out to play every day," Maddon said. "I was really proud of our guys, and we're gonna maintain this kind of spirit moving forward."