Angels rally for 10th inning victory after blowing the lead in the ninth

ANAHEIM — Hansel Robles took the mound looking for a save, but his teammates saved him.

After the Angels’ struggling closer gave up three runs in the top of the ninth to cough up a two-run lead, the Angels rallied to beat the Houston Astros 5-4 in 10 innings on Saturday.

“To go home tonight, losing a game like that, and with a day game tomorrow, you’ve really got to search for the energy,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “Hopefully this will energize us a bit going into tomorrow.”

The comeback helped them avoid what would have been a nightmarish loss, after Robles allowed a Josh Reddick solo homer and a two-out two-run homer by George Springer.

Trailing by a run, the Angels went to work in the bottom of the inning when Luis Rengifo singled off the arm of closer Roberto Osuna with one out. Osuna had to come out of the game.

Facing Cy Sneed, Jason Castro then blasted a double off the center field fence, tying the game.

In the 10th, Noé Ramirez and Ryan Buchter navigated around the Astros free runner in scoring position. Buchter struck out Abraham Toro with the bases loaded to end it.

In the bottom of the inning, David Fletcher singled to right, sending Matt Thaiss to third. After Brian Goodwin struck out and Anthony Rendon was intentionally walked to load the bases, Michael Hermosillo hit a fly ball to right field to drive in the winning run. The ball wasn’t very deep, but Reddick’s throw was off line.

Hermosillo, who had entered the game for defense and was batting in the No. 4 spot, knew even before he got back in the dugout in the middle of the 10th that the game might come down to him, because he was batting behind Rendon.

“They were going to put it in my hands,” said Hermosillo, who collected his first career walk-off. “I figured it was going to be up to me. I was already putting that in my head. I was ready for it.”

It was the Angels second try at baseball’s new extra-innings rule, and their first victory.

The victory allowed the Angels to escape on a day that they saw once again their closer position is unsettled.

Robles has allowed nine earned runs in 3-2/3 innings this season, as his velocity has been down. Last year he had a 2.48 ERA.

“He’s just off obviously,” Maddon said. “You’ve all noticed that there’s been a decline in the velocity. We have to figure that out. On top of that, just, it’s a confidence issue, too. You got to pay attention to all of that. Mickey (Callaway) is already on it. He saw some things. He has some ideas, so we’ll see if it plays out.”

Although Robles had not pitched well, the Angels put him in position for a save on Saturday after a strong start by Griffin Canning and two clean innings from Felix Peña.

Canning was charged with one run in six-plus innings. He had not allowed a run when he walked off the mound in the seventh, but Peña allowed an inherited runner to score.

“I think I commanded the ball inside pretty well with my with my fastball,” Canning said. “So I think it just kind of, kind of kept them honest just not being able to to leak out over the plate and kind of get on some stuff those away.”

The Angels didn’t do much offensively to support Canning, but they did score a pair of runs in a rally built on solid fundamental baseball.

After the Angels failed to manage a baserunner against Zack Greinke in the first five innings, Taylor Ward pulled a single into right with one out in the sixth. Thaiss then executed a hit-and-run, pulling the ball through the hole vacated by second baseman Jose Altuve and sending Ward to third.

Fletcher hit a sacrifice fly, to drive in Ward, and Thaiss alertly went from first to second when the throw went to the plate. Thaiss was then able to score on Goodwin’s single into right.

Ward helped generate an insurance run in the eighth, leading off with a triple and scoring on a two-out infield hit by Rendon.

The would need two more runs to pull out the victory, improving to 3-6. They’ve lost twice when leading in the seventh or later.

They are just happy that number isn’t three now.

“We’re very close to being in great shape,” Maddon said. “We’re just in a little mediocre shape. We’ve got to nail those wins down.”