Wild walk-off hands Angels first home win of season
Apr 12, 2014 at 3:02a ET
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It took them long enough -- four games, 11 innings Friday night and the most unlikely of finishes -- but the Angels finally won a game at home.
They'll gladly take it.
Hank Conger took a pitch to the ribs with the bases loaded, giving the Angels a 5-4 win over the visiting New York Mets after they started the season 0-3 at Angel Stadium.
Even more significant was the fact the Angels are now 5-5, the first time they've been at .500 since April 3, 2013, when they started 1-1.
It's been a long time coming. But so was Friday's victory.
"We're going to take it," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We battled hard tonight."
That was true for starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs, the Santa Monica High product who was making his first home start. The left-hander gave up four runs in seven innings but still pitched effectively, using a curve and two-seam sinking fastball to get 14 ground-ball outs and strike out four.
In two starts this season, Skaggs has a 2.40 ERA and has walked just one in 15 innings.
He had more than 30 friends and relatives at the game in what he admitted was a memorable night for a kid who grew up an Angels fan.
"It was definitely a dream come true," he said. "You dream about it as a kid, growing up and playing for the Angels, so it was fun."
The game was an important return for left fielder J.B. Shuck, who played well this spring but didn't make the 25-man roster. He was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday only after Josh Hamilton went on the disabled list with a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Shuck delivered a two-run homer off Mets starter Dillon Gee in the sixth inning, tying the game 4-4 in his first start of the season.
"Obviously, I wanted to be here, so when it didn't happen it was disappointing," Shuck said of his failure to make the roster. "But in the same sense, it had to happen. Just the way the cards fell, I guess. I tried not to get down, went to Salt Lake and played my game. I knew good things would happen if I did that."
They're happening now, for Shuck and for the Angels. They've won five of seven games after their 0-3 start, and the sense in the clubhouse is that things are turning.
See photos from Friday's game as Hank Conger ended it with a walk-off hit by pitch in the 11th inning
They left 17 runners on base and were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position, but their bullpen pitched four scoreless innings to keep the game even until the 11th.
That's when Raul Ibanez led off with a single through the right side and took second on a wild pitch by Mets reliever Jeurys Familia.
Mets manager Terry Collins then order Familia to intentionally walk Howie Kendrick and Shuck to load the bases with one out.
And Familia hit Conger, forcing in the winning run.
"I was just trying to get something up," Conger said. "A sac fly would do, but I'm thinking line drive."
Actually, he didn't have to think at all. Just stand there.