If you were looking for the right words to describe the Angels’ game Thursday night at Boston, those would fit.
But there was also something frustrating and almost deflating about they way they hung on to beat the Red Sox 14-13 in 10 innings for a three-game sweep at Fenway Park.
The Angels didn’t so much beat the Red Sox as they outlasted them. They came back from a 6-0 deficit in the second inning, took an 8-6 lead in the third, fell behind again in the sixth, pulled in front in the ninth, allowed Boston to tie the game in the ninth and finally held on with two runs in the 10th.
In the end, it took a 10th-inning home run by Kendrys Morales off Alfredo Aceves and a decisive double by Vernon Wells off Craig Breslow that drove home Erick Aybar to give the Angels a two-run cushion they ultimately needed.
Can a game like this give the Angels a much-needed emotional boost and perhaps be a turning point down the final stretch? You’d have to think it’s possible.
But remember, this team has been so unpredictable this season. It stumbled out of the gate in April, surged in May and June, stumbled through July and swooned for the first three weeks of August. Any boost could be little more than short term.
So now they head to Detroit with a modest head of steam and a belief they remain capable of contending for the playoffs.
“We’re going to try and ride this wave to the end,” right fielder Torii Hunter, whose ninth-inning single momentarily gave the Angels the lead, told FOX Sports West. “We’re going to Detroit with a positive mind.”
Long forgotten, however, was another failed start by left-hander CJ Wilson, who gave up six earned runs in five innings but still was in line for a victory – it would have been his first since June 26 – before the bullpen lost the lead.
Even closer Ernesto Frieri, who struck out Adrian Gonzalez for the final out, struggled. He surrendered a homer to Cody Ross in the bottom of the ninth that tied the game 12-12, then, with a two-run lead in the 10th, gave up another run on an RBI single by Dustin Pedroia.
The Angels used seven pitchers in the game, and given the difficulties of the relief corps, is it any wonder this game produced 27 runs and 38 hits? The Red Sox did their share, of course, using nine pitchers and pitching just as unevenly as the Angels.
Even with the win, the Angels were unable to gain ground on the Texas Rangers in the American League West, although they are a manageable 2½ games out of the wild card, behind Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Detroit and Oakland.
Now they head to Detroit, where they can move up on the Tigers, whose hopes to win the AL Central remain strong.
There is clearly a long way to go in this race, but finally the Angels can once again feel they’ve got momentum. A bizarre victory in Boston keeps them moving in the right direction.