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Must C Clutch: Trumbo wins it with a walk-off blast

ANAHEIM -- There's still 37 more games left in the regular season to determine whether Mark Trumbo's walk-off, two-run home run off Texas reliever Mike Adams on Thursday night was the moment that saved the Angels' season.

Manager Mike Scioscia said after the Halos' 2-1 win over the Rangers at Angel Stadium that it would be "overly dramatic" to speak in those terms.

But the alternative to Trumbo's heroics -- a fourth straight loss to the Rangers and an eight-game hole in the American League West -- makes it hard to downplay the significance of the win.

A six-game deficit is daunting at this point in the season, but eight looks a whole lot more intimidating. If the Angels get back into the pennant race, they very well could look back at Trumbo's home run as the turning point.

"It was obviously a big hit in a big situation and it was nice," said Jered Weaver, whose only blemish in seven innings was a homer from Mike Napoli. "What is it, six now? Six instead of eight, so that definitely helps. It's not the way we wanted the series to go. A couple of more wins would have been nice here at home, but it's nice not to drop four and pick this win up."

Prior to the bottom of the ninth, the Rangers certainly seemed poised for their first four-game series sweep in Anaheim. Colby Lewis gave up just four hits in seven innings, while Adams and his 1.12 ERA were set to shut the door on the Angels in the ninth.

But Torii Hunter began the inning with a single -- extending his hitting streak to 16 games -- and Trumbo didn't miss when Adams left a slider out over the plate.

"I was trying to keep the ball down," Adams said. "I was trying to get the double play. That one stayed up and ran across the plate."

Hunter called the home run one of the team's biggest hits of the season, and Trumbo admitted the Angels were in desperate need of a win after starting the series with three consecutive losses on top of a 2-4 road trip.

"Big time, I'd be lying if I said otherwise," Trumbo said. "We've been scuffling. I think a lot of people are frustrated, myself included. We struggled on that road trip. It wasn't very good, and it didn't really help our momentum going into this crucial series. But we'll take what we can get."

After a quiet four innings to start the game, Peter Bourjos briefly shot some life into the Angels' offense when he laid down a perfect bunt for a one-out single. Bourjos then advanced two bases on Lewis' errant pickoff attempt. But Lewis recovered to strike out Erick Aybar and Jeff Mathis to end the inning and leave Bourjos 90 feet from giving the Halos a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth, Bobby Abreu put the Angels in position for a second time to break a scoreless tie with a two-out double. Up to the plate walked Hunter, who began the day with the Majors' best batting average in August at .429.

But Hunter weakly popped an 0-1 pitch into foul territory that first baseman Napoli caught for the inning's final out. The team's latest failure to come through with a running in scoring position was too much for Hunter. He promptly slammed his bat and helmet onto the ground, the right fielder visibly disgusted with the missed opportunity.

"Colby Lewis over there -- he was filthy today," Hunter said. "He hit that outside corner, and he just lived there and kept us off-balance.

"It was never over until the fat lady sang, and she sang when Trumbo hit that ball. It's a good ballclub over there and we were able to come through today."

The Angels will get a chance to keep the momentum going with three games at home against the Baltimore Orioles, who are in last place in the AL East. They then have a two-game series against the White Sox at home before traveling to Texas for another pivotal series.

"We have a tall order in front of us," Scioscia said. "The first order of business for us is to get our team together and start to play consistent baseball. And we've been struggling with that all summer and we need to see that." Comments