Drury's ninth-inning go-ahead shot snaps Angels' losing skid

Renfroe goes 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs in possibly his last game as an Angel

August 30th, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- If it was ’s last game with the Angels, he’s headed out on a high note.

Renfroe, who was one of six veterans placed on waivers by the Angels on Tuesday and could be claimed by a contending club on Thursday, went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs, and connected on a go-ahead two-run blast in the ninth inning to lift the Angels to a wild 10-8 win over the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon. The Angels blew two late leads but overcame a one-run deficit in the ninth against closer Craig Kimbrel to snap a three-game losing streak and avoid a three-game sweep at Citizens Bank Park.

“It’s been tough, we haven’t been playing good baseball, and there’s been all that stuff about the waiver wire,” Drury said. “It’s been tough for us, but there’s no other option but to keep playing. So we’re going to keep going and fight until the end.”

The Angels opened August with high hopes, as they were aggressive ahead of the Aug. 1 Trade Deadline. The Halos acquired veterans, such as Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López, Randal Grichuk, C.J. Cron, Dominic Leone, Mike Moustakas and Eduardo Escobar, to help them make a postseason push.

But instead of getting into the American League Wild Card mix, the Angels faltered in August, going 8-19 while getting outscored by 74 runs, to fall 12 games out of the AL Wild Card race. Their run differential of minus-74 was the worst for any month in club history, topping their minus-72 run differential in August 2015.

So, when the Halos start their three-game set with the A’s on Friday, the roster is likely to look much different after Matt Moore, Renfroe, Giolito, López, Grichuk and Leone were placed on waivers. All six of those veterans could be claimed by a contending club, and the Angels can’t receive anything in return, outside of salary relief, as the claiming club will be on the hook for the player’s salary for the rest of the season. It’s essentially designed to help the Angels get under the Competitive Balance Tax before the end of the season.

Renfroe, Grichuk, Leone, López and Moore all saw action on Wednesday. Renfroe hit a two-run homer in the second, doubled in the fifth and hit a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth. Grichuk went 1-for-4 after picking up three hits on Tuesday.

Leone, López and Moore all struggled in relief. Leone gave up a run in the fifth, López surrendered a go-ahead three-run blast to Trea Turner in the sixth and Moore allowed a go-ahead two-run shot to Bryce Harper with two outs in the eighth.

“He was really good,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said of Renfroe, who declined to comment. “He got the head out on a slider for a laser home run. He had a big hit later with his two-run single. It’s a place [runners with scoring position], where he’s struggled a bit. But it was a big knock for us, and the bats picked up the back end of our ‘pen right there.”

It could be the final game with the Angels for all five players, however, as well as Giolito, who is tentatively scheduled to start on Sunday against the A’s.

But the Angels put all that aside and came back in the ninth against Kimbrel. Nolan Schanuel had a key hit with a single to set a club record with a 10-game hitting streak to open his career. It set up a game-tying sacrifice fly from Luis Rengifo before Drury connected on what proved to be the game-winning two-run blast to right.

“It was one of those series where it seemed like every time we scored, they came right back,” Drury said. “But we kept fighting until the end and got the win today.”

Nevin appreciated the effort he saw from his club and said that it won’t change going forward despite the Angels’ decision to potentially move on from several key veterans for the rest of the season. Turner and Harper both energized Phillies fans with their go-ahead homers, but the Angels quieted the crowd with their comeback in the ninth.

“All these games are still important to us,” Nevin said. “If you would’ve been in our dugout, you would’ve realized that. It was pretty cool being in there today. I know the Phillies are in it and they have unbelievable fans, and they had the big home run from Bryce. But our dugout was pretty cool to be in, too. Our group has been through a lot.”