Josh Hamilton had no answer for the boos that rained down in his return to Arlington on Friday; the former AL MVP went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a couple of misplays in right field as the Angels lost to the Rangers 3-2.
Adrian Beltre hit a game-tying homer for Texas in the seventh, and Ian Kinsler singled in Craig Gentry for the go-ahead run in the eighth.
The Angels got nothing out of their vaunted middle-of-the-order today, as Albert Pujols, Hamilton and Mark Trumbo combined to go 0-for-10 with two walks.
Besides struggling at the plate, Hamilton had a tough time in right field.
Hamilton turned A.J. Pierzynski’s double into a triple in the second inning and later got a late jump on Lance Berkman’s fly to shallow right in the fifth. The ball dropped out of the reach of both Hamilton and second baseman Howie Kendrick, and Berkman was credited with a double.
Hamilton is now 1-for-16 with eight strikeouts this season. His one hit Thursday did drive in two runs.
Hamilton spent five years with the Rangers before signing a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels in the offseason. He won AL MVP honors in 2010 and hit 43 homers and drove in 128 runs last year,
The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.
Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.
Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.
James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.
The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.