Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 9/8/12
ANAHEIM, Calif. These are the kinds of games that can carry a team to the finish. A strong pitching performance. Solid defense. A walk-off hit. The Angels had all of them Friday night. And as each day passes, they gain a bit more momentum and a bit more ground in the American League wild card race. They are now two games out two games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the second wild card spot and 2 behind the wild-card leading Oakland As. When they win games like they did Friday night with a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth by pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo that drove in Peter Bourjos from second base for a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers anything seems possible. Everybodys relaxed, Kendrys Morales said through a translator. Nobodys really preoccupied with scores, with looking at the scoreboard or how the other ballclubs did. Were playing relaxed and loose and having a good time playing the game. Its showing. After slumping through part of July and most of August, the Angels are suddenly rejuvenated. Just when it appeared they were falling hopelessly out of the AL West and wild card races, they are now contenders, going 13-3 the past 18 days and moving a season-high 12 games over .500. Its going to be a grind the whole way, manager Mike Scioscia said. You can talk about momentum, but you have to build it every night, from the first pitch of the game. We need to control the game like we are with our pitchers and with our bullpen doing the job. Thats something we missed for a long stretch. But they have it back. Right-hander Ervin Santana, who at one point seemed on the verge of a demotion to the bullpen, matched Tigers starter Max Scherzer pitch for pitch, striking out 10 batters into the seventh but also giving up home runs to Prince Fielder and Alex Avila. Santana was helped by some exceptional defense from Mike Trout in center field and Morales at first base, but the game was still tied 2-2 going into the bottom of the ninth. Morales one-out single off Detroit reliever Octavio gave the Angels their chance. Bourjos came in to pinch run, and after Howie Kendrick lined out to right, Erick Aybar hit an infield topper that he beat out for a hit, sending Bourjos to second. Scioscia opted not to let a slumping Mark Trumbo bat, instead sending up Callaspo. It was really a no-brainer: Trumbo had struck out twice already and was hitting .173 (23 for 133) over a 34-game stretch. Its a tough decision, Scioscia said, but right there we need a guy thats going to put the ball in play. Dotels real tough on righties and Marks struggling a bit right now. We know (Albertos) going to put the ball in play and hopefully find a hole, and he did. Callaspo did his job, making contact and scooting a fastball past shortstop Jhonny Peralta and into left field. Bourjos sprinted home without a play and Callaspo tried to sprint away from his teammates, who finally caught him in the outfield to celebrate. It feels great for the team, for me, for everybody, he said. Now the Angels have to hope they can keep that feeling going.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Top eight takeaways from NFL Honors awards

Report: Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker