PHOENIX (AP)It took a while, but the Los Angeles Angels are back at .500.
Anthony Rendon homered and drove in four runs, and the Angels rallied from a five-run deficit to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-7 on Saturday. The win moved Los Angeles to .500 (32-32) for the first time since May 2.
”It definitely is an achievement,” said Angels manager Joe Maddon. ”It’s a goal. You have to get there. I could not be more impressed with this group. Now you have to continue one game at a time and the next goal is five over (.500), 10 over, etc.”
Trailing 6-5, the Angels scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning off Arizona closer Joakim Soria. Jose Iglesias and Taylor Ward had RBI singles and Rendon delivered a sacrifice fly.
Reliever Alex Claudio (1-1) pitched a scoreless inning of relief to get the win and Raisel Iglesias earned his 11th save for the Angels.
Soria (0-3) took the loss and Josh Rojas homered twice for the Diamondbacks, who lost their ninth straight game and have dropped 32 of their last 37. Arizona has the worst record in the big leagues at 21-45.
”A few things that are a little inconsistent is the ability for us to go out and make statements and do things with conviction,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. ”Teams can sense when you’re lacking a little bit of conviction. We have to keep grinding. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us.”
Maddon said he hopes the game is a springboard for Rendon, who came into the contest hitting .233 with three homers.
”It’s really big,” Maddon said. ”Listen, I don’t care how long you’ve played and how much you’ve accomplished. Confidence can wane at different moments. When it takes a leave of absence it’s tough … It’s all about confidence. I want to believe that game today because those were crispy off his bat. That game today can get him rolling.”
Rendon said he felt no different Saturday than he has all season: ”To be honest I feel the same, which is terrifying,” he said, adding that he was more impressed with the Angels reaching the .500 mark.
”Oh man, it’s great to be on the roll we are on,” Rendon said. ”The energy level is up. We’re having fun right now.”
Arizona took a 5-0 lead off Los Angeles starter Alex Cobb in the third inning. The Diamondbacks batted around and had six straight hits off Cobb, all coming with two outs. David Peralta drove in two runs with a double, Christian Walker added an RBI double and Eduardo Escobar had an RBI single.
Maddon credited reliever Jose Suarez for keeping the Angels in the game. Suarez threw four innings of one-run ball in relief of Cobb.
”Suarez made that game possible,” Maddon said. ”He kind of kept everything in order with the performance he gave.”
Rendon’s solo homer and an RBI pinch-hit single cut Arizona’s lead to 5-2 in the fourth inning, and the Angels added two more runs in the fifth on a two-run double by Rendon.
Rojas gave the Diamondbacks a two-run cushion in the top of the seventh with a lead-off homer off Suarez. The Angels sliced the margin to 6-5 on a sacrifice bunt by Kean Wong, but Shohei Ohtani, who had a pinch-hit single, was stranded at third to end the eighth inning.
Los Angeles traded RHP Hunter Strickland to Milwaukee for cash considerations. Strickland had a 9.95 ERA in nine appearances for the Angels. Los Angeles had designated Strickland for assignment earlier in the week.
ANGELS Pitcher Jose Quintana (left shoulder inflammation) will throw a bullpen session Monday. Quintana was placed on the 10-day injured list May 31.
DIAMONDBACKS: Pitcher Zac Gallen (UCL sprain) threw 46 pitches in a 2 2/3 inning simulated game Saturday. Lovullo said Gallen felt good after the outing but that the next step in his rehab has yet to be determined.
LHP Patrick Sandoval (0-2, 3.62) will look for his first win of the season Sunday for Los Angeles while Arizona will counter with RHP Jon Duplantier (0-2, 10.03), who will face the Angels for the first time in his career.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports