It was all going decently well at the start.
For five innings, Zack Greinke threw the baseball on a rope. He was masterful, throwing his 88 mph fastball and 88 mph sinker and 69 mph curveball and all that other wizardry stuff he does. It helped him carry a perfect game through sixteen hitters. In the sixth, Taylor Ward snuck a ground ball through, then Matt Thaiss successfully hit a single on a hit-and-run, and David Fletcher did what he does best, making contact, putting a sacrifice fly into left field. Brian Goodwin dumped an RBI single into right, and Greinke’s very exquisite night was over. His line, 5.2 IP with 2 ER, wasn’t that good, but it definitely underemphasized how well he pitched.
Part of his success may have been due to the creeping shadows around the field (4 pm starts for national television pretty much always end up like this). Although Griffin Canning is a very talented pitcher, it is somewhat out of the ordinary to see him shut down a quality offense like the Astros over six innings. After a 25-pitch first inning, in which Canning could not locate his fastball, he settled down to get through six innings unscathed, matching Greinke every step of the way. Joe Maddon let him start the seventh, and Canning gave up a leadoff double to Josh Reddick, who scored later in the inning on a George Springer jamshot single. So, Joe Maddon may decide to revert to his old ways and pull starters extremely early. We will see!
The Angels added an insurance run off nasty pitcher Ryan Pressly in the eighth, as Ward tripled to right and Anthony Rendon cashed him in with two outs. This was a golden opportunity nearly squandered by the Angels, who had three separate hitters come to the plate with a man on third and less than two outs, and all three of them failed to drive him in. Thankfully, Rendon delivered.
Not that it would matter. After Félix Peña sliced and diced his way through two innings of relief, Hansel Robles came in for the save situation and did not put out any sort of fire. Josh Reddick homered, Garrett Stubbs singled, George Springer homered, and just like that, the lead was evaporated.
Luis Rengifo and Jason Castro combined for a run in the ninth, and this game was going to extra innings.
After Noe Ramirez played with fire in the tenth, stranding the bases loaded, in the bottom half of the inning, David Fletcher singled Thaiss over to third. After Goodwin struck out and Rendon was intentionally walked, Michael Hermosillo was able to walk it off with a sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the inning. Justin Upton who? Although the pop was shallow, JJ Reddick sent a very errant throw to the plate, and Thaiss scored.
The Angels breathe a sigh of relief and improve to 3-6, and the final game of the series occurs tomorrow at 1:10 pm.