Three pitches later, Hamilton delivered, lifting the Angels to a 6-5 victory over the Astros on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.
"You keep working hard, doing everything you can do to prepare to play a game, but if the results aren't there, then it gets frustrating," Hamilton said. "Especially the way the season's going all around, it's been frustrating. Moments like that, you have to come back anyways, so it makes it a little easier to come back every day."
Hamilton entered the at-bat 1-for-4 and fell behind in the count 0-2, but Astros reliever Josh Fields hung a breaking ball that Hamilton didn't miss.
"He went curveball first pitch then went heater in then was trying to throw a curveball in the dirt, I'm sure," Hamilton said minutes after hitting his fifth career walk-off home run. "Just left it up, left it right down the middle. When I first hit it, I wasn't quite sure if I got it because it wasn't absolutely flush, but as I was running and saw him look up, it's a good feeling."
The Angels had the opportunity to win the game in extra innings because Buddy Boshers, Dane De La Rosa and Ernesto Frieri combined to pitch four scoreless innings in relief of Garrett Richards.
In addition to the strong performance from the bullpen, the Angels also received a lift from an overturned call in the ninth.
With the game tied at 5, Astros right fielder L.J. Hoes led off the ninth with a single to right field. Hoes tried to stretch it into a double but was thrown out by Collin Cowgill.
However, the umpire originally ruled Angels shortstop Erick Aybar missed the tag and Hoes was called safe.
After Aybar argued and Angels manager Mike Scioscia came out to discuss, the umpires gathered and reversed the call, ruling that Hoes was out -- a decision that TV replays confirmed.
"From our angle it looked like Erick got a tag on him," Scioscia said. "You could see some movement there and Erick isn't going to argue if he didn't tag him, so from our angle we thought we had a tag, and the umpires got together and reversed the call, so you have to give them some credit. They got the call right."
While the victory -- just the Angels' fifth in the past 15 games -- was welcomed, Richards' sprint to a spot in the 2014 starting rotation hit a speed bump.
Hours before the game, Scioscia said Richards' current run was "the most locked in we've seen him as a starter."
But, the ensuing outing did not help support that claim as the right-hander allowed five runs on 12 hits in six-plus innings.
"He had good stuff," Scioscia said. "Those guys scratched together a couple hits early in the game, got the bases loaded, and he minimized the damage just giving up a couple runs when the game could have gone the other way."
The Astros scored twice in the third as Richards surrendered singles to the first four batters of the inning. Then in the fifth, Houston scored three more via Brett Wallace's two-run home run and Chris Carter's RBI double -- a ball Cowgill appeared to lose in the lights.
While the Angels are watching Richards pitch with an eye on the future, they enjoyed seeing Hamilton revert to his old ways.
"He's been searching all year for it and you saw a glimpse of it tonight," Scioscia said.
William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com.