ANAHEIM, Calif. — It was an eventful at-bat to say the least.
Howie Kendrick is a "multi-dimensional" player for the Angels, and he gave a large glimpse of those dimensions before delivering a walk-off RBI double for the Angels in their 3-2 10-inning win over the Rangers Saturday night at Angel Stadium.
Josh Hamilton led off the bottom of the inning with a rocket just off of the glove of Rangers reliever Neal Cotts that landed in the infield, allowing Hamilton to reach safely on an infield single.
Enter Kendrick, who bunted the first pitch — a 91 miles per hour fastball — foul. He took the next pitch to even up the count.
With the count 1-1, Angels manager Mike Scioscia put on the hit-and-run. Kendrick fouled a fastball back.
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He fouled off the next pitch, then took the next two. With a 3-2 count, the hit-and-run was on again and Kendrick drove a pitch to the gap in left center. Hamilton, already in motion, was able to score easily on a pitch that hit the base of the wall as Kendrick delivered the fifth walk-off hit of his career.
"Bunt, hit-and-run," Kendrick said trying to recount all the signs that were put on during his game-winning at-bat. "I think that’s about all the signs. There wasn’t a steal put on.
"I put a good swing on it and I think they were playing me to (go opposite field) so there was a big gap in left center and so, I guess, I hit it in the right spot."
In that situation, he was a prime candidate for Scioscia to put a play on.
"I think he’s multi-dimensional," Scioscia said. "He can certainly get a bunt down. You could hit-and-run with Howie. He’s going to put the ball in play and he can drive the ball, so it was a good spot for him. He didn’t miss the mistake. He got one mistake there and he didn’t miss it and split the gap."
After not one but two Gatorade baths, Kendrick was able to soak up the moment.
"It’s getting more and more fun," Kendrick said. "The younger you are the more pressure you put on yourself and then the more experience you get you just try to have a good at-bat and let it happen."
The win provides the Angels with a series win over Texas heading into Sunday, when they’ll go for the sweep. Saturday night’s win, however, was tough to come by.
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Texas, playing textbook baseball in the top of the first, was able to get a run across against Angels starter Jered Weaver while the Angel bats remained silent. Rangers starter Nick Martinez was perfect through five innings before Hank Conger led off the top of the sixth with a double for the team’s first hit of the game.
Conger eventually tied the game on an RBI groundout by the recently recalled Efren Navarro.
C.J. Cron put the Angels on top for the first time with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the eighth.
With Joe Smith unavailable to pitch the ninth, Scioscia went to Kevin Jepsen, who snapped a streak of 19 consecutive scoreless appearances and blew the club’s American League-leading 12th save of the year.
The 10th belonged to Kendrick, who was 14 months removed from his last walk-off hit which came against the Rangers. Of his five walk-off hits, three have come against Texas.