Angels use 3-run ninth to beat Cardinals 6-5

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 5, 2013 at 12:26 am •  Published: July 5, 2013
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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The noise Josh Hamilton's bat made when it connected with Edward Mujica's changeup was music to his ears, and those of his Los Angeles Angels teammates.

Hamilton hit a tying two-run homer in Los Angeles' three-run ninth inning, and the Angels rallied for a 6-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night.

"It was just a good feeling to hear that sound come off your bat," Hamilton said. "... It couldn't happen on a better day for the crowd on the Fourth of July. They got a little more fireworks and a little more bang for their buck than they thought they were going to get. It was cool.

"Anytime you can contribute like that, especially in the late innings and have a comeback like that, it's a pretty special feeling."

Mark Trumbo belted his 19th homer and Mike Trout had two RBIs for Los Angeles, which took two of three in the series. Scott Downs (2-2) got three outs for the victory.

"Whether we won that game or not, this team never gives up," Albert Pujols said. "I mean, we've got 12 or 13 position players that really compete every day. Our bullpen threw the ball well to keep us in the game."

St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright, the NL pitcher of the month for June, took a 5-3 lead into the ninth before giving up a leadoff single by Pujols, who was 1 for 11 in his first series against his former team. Manager Mike Matheny then brought in Mujica, who had converted 21 of 21 save opportunities this season. But Hamilton drove the right-hander's second pitch into the center field trees for his 11th homer, extending his hitting streak to nine games and raising his average to .226.

"Players I've talked to about him said he's not afraid to throw his split five or six times in a row because that's his go-to pitch. So he's going to stick to what has been working for him," Hamilton said. "I didn't try to do too much with it. I didn't try to yank it or anything like that — just hit it back up the middle."

Howie Kendrick and Trumbo followed with singles, and Mujica (0-1) retired his next two batters before Erick Aybar drove in the winning run with an opposite-field single to left. Aybar had three hits and scored a run for Los Angeles.

Mujica acknowledged that he shook off batterymate Yadier Molina on the ill-fated pitches to Hamilton and Aybar.

"I made two big mistakes. I didn't follow Yadier on a couple of pitches, and that was the ball game," Mujica said. "He called for a fastball on Hamilton and I threw the changeup. On Aybar, he called for a fastball again and I decided to throw my changeup. I threw a couple good changeups and got two popups so I figured I'd go with my best pitch."

Wainwright, the only Cardinals pitcher averaging at least seven innings per start, defended Matheny's decision to take him out after 104 pitches. His season high is 120, on May 11 in a two-hit shutout against Colorado.

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