ANAHEIM, Calif. - Big swings by Josh Hamilton have been few and far between during his first season with the Angels.
But the 2010 AL MVP showed Saturday night why they signed him to a $125 million, five-year contract last winter, homering with one out in the 10th inning to give Los Angeles a 6-5 victory over the Houston Astros.
It was Hamilton's fifth career game-ending homer, including the one he hit July 6, and it made him the third player in franchise history to do it twice in one season along with Bobby Abreu and current teammate Mark Trumbo.
"Everybody I've talked to says players go through seasons like this, and this is the first season I've ever gone through like this," said Hamilton, hitting only .227 in 115 games. "But the way you persevere through these things determines your character and makes you better in the long haul."
Trumbo also homered and drove in two more runs with his first triple of the season, but it wasn't enough until Hamilton sent an 0-2 pitch from Josh Fields (1-3) to right-centre for his 18th homer and 59th RBI.
"When I hit it, I wasn't quite sure if I got it because it wasn't absolutely flush. But when I was running and saw him look up, it was a good feeling," Hamilton said. "Moments like that make it a little easier to come back every day. It would be nice to do it all the time."
Ernesto Frieri (1-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.
L.J. Hoes greeted the right-hander with a line drive down the right-field line leading off the ninth and legged it to second. Umpire Eric Cooper called him safe despite the protestations of Angels manager Mike Scioscia and shortstop Erick Aybar, who appeared to tag Hoes on the back as he slid by.
Cooper and the rest of his crew huddled and reversed the call to an out, resulting in a single for Hoes and leading to a lengthy and animated argument between Cooper and Astros manager Bo Porter. Frieri then struck out four of his next five batters.
"At first, I didn't think he tagged me. But I watched the replay and it looked like he might have swiped my jersey," Hoes said. "I'm definitely surprised that they overturned it. It would have been huge to lead off the ninth inning with a double."
Porter was considerably more adamant about his displeasure over the ruling.
"I've never seen anything like that — where the umpire is actually in position to make a call, makes the call and then agrees to get help on the call that he's in position to make," Porter said. "He said he may not have seen it as clearly as he wanted to see it. It was a big play."
Brett Wallace homered and drove in three runs for the Astros.
Philip Humber relieved Houston starter Dallas Keuchel in the fifth and pitched 2 2-3 innings, giving up the tying run in the seventh on Aybar's two-out RBI single after Mike Trout walked and stole second.
Angels right-hander Garrett Richards gave up five runs and a career-high 12 hits through six-plus innings in his 21st big league start, striking out seven and walking none. He was coming off his first complete game in the majors, a 2-1 loss at Yankee Stadium last Monday.
Keuchel gave up four runs and eight hits in four-plus innings. The 25-year-old left-hander, who threw a career-high 116 pitches over 8 2-3 innings last Sunday in a 6-1 loss to Texas, was removed by Porter with a 5-4 lead after walking the first two batters in the fifth.
The Astros pulled ahead 5-4 in this seesaw affair with three runs in the top half. Wallace tied it with his 10th homer, sending Richards' 2-2 pitch into the left-field bullpen after a single by Robbie Grossman. Jose Altuve followed with a single and scored on a two-out double by designated hitter Chris Carter, who had a career-high five RBIs in Friday's series-opening 8-2 win.
Trumbo, the only Angels player to appear in every game this season before Scioscia gave him Friday off, returned to the lineup with his .236 average and hit his 27th homer into the centre-field trees leading off the second.
One inning later, the Angels' cleanup hitter followed two-out singles by Collin Cowgill and Trout with an opposite-field triple to right, giving Trumbo 78 RBIs and tying Trout for the club lead. Aybar capped the rally with an RBI double that extended the margin to 4-2.
Houston took a 2-1 edge in the third after Richards gave up singles to his first four batters, including infield hits by Jonathan Villar and Grossman and an RBI single by Wallace. Villar scored on Altuve's double-play grounder.
NOTES: Frieri became the 16th Angels pitcher to be credited with a victory this season, matching their total for each of the previous three years. The club record is 19 in 2000, when reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa led the club with 10 wins and no starter had more than eight. ... Fifteen players on the Astros' 25-man roster have spent time in the minors this season. Porter has started at least four different players at every defensive position except catcher. ... Trout, playing in his 300th big league game, extended his on-base streak to 39 consecutive games — second-longest in club history behind SS Orlando Cabrera's 63-game stretch in 2006. ... The Angels and Astros entered with the two highest error totals in the AL, and the two highest team ERAs.
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