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Angels top Yanks thanks to unlikely RBI source

Fletcher drives in 5 to double career total in much-needed win
@RhettBollinger
April 26, 2019

ANAHEIM -- It was a homestand filled with near-comebacks and close losses, but the Angels did their best to salvage it by coming through with a much-needed 11-5 win over the Yankees in the finale on Thursday night at Angel Stadium. David Fletcher led the way with a career-high five

ANAHEIM -- It was a homestand filled with near-comebacks and close losses, but the Angels did their best to salvage it by coming through with a much-needed 11-5 win over the Yankees in the finale on Thursday night at Angel Stadium.

David Fletcher led the way with a career-high five RBIs, while Tommy La Stella and Kole Calhoun connected on two-run homers in the fifth to help the Angels overcome an early 4-0 deficit and improve to 10-16 on the year.

“It was very needed,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “The energy has been really good in the clubhouse and in the dugout, guys have had their spirits up, but the first half of the game today, I sensed we were a little bit down. But when we put some runs on the board, it picked up right where it’s been the last few days.”

After going 1-4 on their road trip against the Cubs and Rangers, the Angels came home and went 2-6 against the Mariners and Yankees. Of those six losses, none were by more than two runs, including four by just one run.

They appeared headed toward a fourth straight loss, trailing by four runs heading into the fifth with veteran right-hander Masahiro Tanaka limiting them to two hits through the first four frames. But things changed in a hurry with homers from La Stella and Calhoun to tie the game.

La Stella has been a surprising source of power for the Angels, as he leads the club with seven homers and his previous career high in a season was five. Calhoun is also outpacing his homer production from last year, as he’s tied with Mike Trout with six on the year and didn’t reach six homers until July 10. La Stella, though, joked he doesn’t expect to be ahead of Trout much longer.

“I’m sure that will last for about a day or so,” La Stella said with a laugh.

Fletcher helped the Angels take the lead for good in the sixth with a two-run single off reliever Jonathan Holder after Brian Goodwin and La Stella drew walks against Tanaka, who was removed with one out. Notably, the Angels swung and missed at just one of Tanaka's offerings, which was his lowest total in 143 MLB starts.

"[The homers] gave us life, for sure," Fletcher said. "Kole's tied the game, and from there we felt like we were definitely back in it and kind of had some momentum going."

Andrelton Simmons stayed hot with an RBI single in the seventh, with the Angels catching a break on an error on the throw back in from left field that allowed Trout to score. Simmons has a hit in 10 of his last 11 games, including a team-high nine extra-base hits over that span.

Fletcher put the game out of reach by blooping a three-run triple down the right-field line off reliever Joe Harvey to give the Angels a seven-run lead. It helped the club to its most lopsided win of the year, as its previous largest margin of victory was five runs.

"We had some big hits and I think Fletch's bases-clearing one was the biggest one,” Ausmus said. “We’ve been down, gotten ourselves back into games, just not won many of them. Tonight we got ourselves back into the game, got a lead and held on.”

Ramsey makes MLB debut

With the Angels up by six runs in the ninth, reliever Matt Ramsey made his long-awaited Major League debut after 201 career appearances in the Minors. Ramsey, signed to a Minor League deal before the season, threw a perfect frame, ending the game with a strikeout of Mike Ford.

Ramsey’s wife, Kirsten, and grandmother were at the game, and he received the game ball from the strikeout after the game from catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

"It was unbelievable,” Ramsey said. “That was a really fun experience. It was the most fun I've ever had. I've had some untimely injuries that probably kept me out of making my debut. I kept grinding and wasn't going to give up on myself."

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.