With two outs in the top of the ninth inning and the game tied 4-4, Adrian Beltre ripped a shot to left field that sliced toward the foul line and would have spelled doom for the Angels, sending in the go-ahead run. With that in mind, Mike Trout put his body on the line.
Never mind the fact that he was running out of real estate. Never mind the fact that he was giving up his body in nearly the identical spot Rangers outfielder Jeff Baker crashed into the wall while making a catch causing him to leave the game in the first inning with a knee injury.
Trout went for it and made a miraculous diving catch, going face first onto the warning track, to save a run, and inevitably the game, in the Angels 5-4, 11th-inning win over the first place Rangers.
Howie Kendrick sent the Angels fans, that were remaining in the Big A, home happy with a walk-off home run to center field off of Rangers reliever Joe Ortiz. It was Kendrick’s second home run of the night, giving him the fifth multi-home run game of his career.
But in the end, even Kendrick had to pay homage to Trout for keeping the team’s hopes alive on Tuesday night.
“That was phenomenal,” said Kendrick, who went 3-for-5 with two home runs and drove in four runs. “That saved the game right there for us too. With guys like him and Pete (Bourjos) out there covering that ground — two of the fastest guys in baseball — not much really falls out there and to have him come up with a clutch play like that, I mean, that was huge for our team.”
There are plenty of catches to cycle through in Trout’s short big league career. The most notable came at Baltimore last season, which Trout says is still his favorite.
He’s not quite sure where Tuesday night’s grab fits into his list but it certainly will be added to the reigning American League Rookie of the Year’s highlight reel.
On a night in which the Angels appeared to be headed for disaster once again, Trout was glad he could help reverse their fortunes.
“That’s what we do in the outfield,” Trout said. “Me, Josh (Hamilton), and Pete (Bourjos), we take pride in that stuff. Late innings like that, every ball that’s hit, especially with people in scoring position, it’s key to catching.
“It was a big play on defense for us and for the team.”
The win allows the Angels to inch closer to the Rangers, now trailing them by 4.5 games in the AL West.
Trout said as soon as he made the catch his thoughts immediately shifted to trying to brace himself for fear of hitting the left field wall.
“It would’ve hurt,” he said.
Had he not made the catch, it could’ve been a bigger blow to the Angels psyche.