By Anthony Andro, The Sports Xchange
ARLINGTON, Texas — It took longer than any other nine-inning game in Texas Rangers’ history, but no one was complaining after Friday night’s 10-9 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
Carlos Gomez scored on wild pitch with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and Alex Claudio (4-1) got Eric Young Jr. to hit into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded in the ninth to end the four-hour, 33-minute game. It was the longest nine-inning game for both teams and the third longest in major-league history.
The teams combined for 25 hits and 15 pitchers used and stranded a total of 23 baserunners.
Texas won despite blowing a 9-4 lead after six innings, but no one was complaining once it was over.
“It was probably the best character win we’ve had all year,” said Texas manager Jeff Banister, whose club is back at .500 after winning three of four. “That’s how you sum it up.
“Typically when you give the lead up a couple of times you don’t win games like that. We had a lot of different players play big in this game tonight from the pitching staff to the guys in the batter’s box. It’s just everybody up and down played a part in this win.”
Cam Bedrosian (4-4), the ninth Angels’ pitcher, walked Gomez with two outs in the eighth. He stole second and went to third on an error. With Mike Napoli at the plate, Bedrosian threw a pitch that catcher Martin Maldonado couldn’t stop.
Gomez, who had one of the three homers, beat Maldonado to the plate with the winner.
“The most important thing is we got that win,” said Gomez, who went 1-for-4 with two runs scored. “We played against a team that’s above us. It’s a big win for us and this series is big for us too. That’s why you go to spring training those situations like that can make a big difference to win games. Always your heads up and you go back to your memory, how you’re working hard in spring training to read bouncing ball.”
Claudio then finished the game on a night when Texas starter Cole Hamels lasted just five innings and Los Angeles starter Tyler Skaggs just two.
The Rangers led 9-4 after six innings, but the bullpen couldn’t make that lead stand up. The Angels scored three times against Ricky Rodriguez in the seventh. C.J. Cron’s two-run double was followed by a Cliff Pennington sacrifice fly.
Los Angeles tied the score at 9 in the eighth on an RBI single from Andrelton Simmons and a sacrifice fly by Kole Calhoun.
But two errors, a short start by Skaggs and the wild pitch were too much for the Angels to overcome.
“We’re going to keep going,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “We didn’t make a couple plays tonight. But we swung the bats, got us back in the game.”
The Rangers led 5-2 after two innings before Joey Gallo ended the night Skaggs with his 37th homer of the season to lead off the bottom of the third. Gallo is tied for the American League lead with New York’s Aaron Judge.
The Angels made it a two-run game by scoring twice off Hamels in the fifth on a two-run single from Albert Pujols. Texas then pushed the lead to five when Shin-Soo Choo hit a two-run homer and Gomez a solo homer off Kenyan Middleton in the sixth.
Hamels was charged with four runs and five hits in five innings. Skaggs gave up six runs (five earned) and five hits.
“My execution was terrible,” said Skaggs. “My fastball control is horrendous right now. That’s really frustrating for me because I’ve been working hard and not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Pujols had four hits and four RBIs for the Angels.
The Angels jumped on Hamels for two runs in the first inning on a two-run double by Pujols. Texas got those runs back in the bottom of the first on an RBI grounder from Elvis Andrus and a Nomar Mazara double.