HOUSTON (AP) Mark Trumbo hit a two-run double in the eighth inning before Alberto Callaspo’s go-ahead sacrifice fly sent the Angels to a 6-5 victory over the Houston Astros in a long game that Los Angeles played under protest Thursday night.
The struggling Angels snapped a four-game skid and avoided an embarrassing sweep against last-place Houston, which has a payroll that’s more than $100 million lower than Los Angeles’ ledger.
The game took 4 hours, 7 minutes – making it the longest nine-inning contest in the majors this season, according to STATS.
Josh Hamilton and Brendan Harris homered for the Angels, who have won just three of their last 12 road games.
The dispute came with two outs in the seventh inning when Astros reliever Wesley Wright ran onto the mound and threw several warmup pitches before manager Bo Porter raced onto the field between the mound and home plate to stop him from throwing more.
Hector Ambriz soon jogged out of the bullpen and onto the mound, and Wright headed to the dugout.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia ran onto the field and argued that Ambriz shouldn’t be able to enter the game because Wright didn’t face a batter. Scioscia remained on the field for several minutes while the umpires huddled and discussed the situation.
Pinch-hitter Luis Jimenez was in the on-deck circle when Wright went to the mound, but was replaced by Scott Cousins when Ambriz came on.
The umps eventually allowed Ambriz (0-2) to remain in the game. He retired Cousins to end the inning.
Scioscia lodged an official protest that likely became moot when the Angels rallied to win.
Trumbo tied it at 5 with a bases-loaded double down the right-field line with nobody out in the eighth, chasing Ambriz. He was replaced by Travis Blackley, who intentionally walked Howie Kendrick with one out before Callaspo’s sacrifice fly.
Garrett Richards (2-3) pitched a scoreless seventh for the win and Ernesto Frieri got five outs for his fifth save.
Houston had runners at second and third with one out in the eighth, but the Astros came up empty after Matt Dominguez struck out and pinch-hitter Carlos Pena grounded out.
Dominguez put Houston on top 5-3 in the sixth with a two-out, two-run single that chased starter Jason Vargas.
The left-hander, who was coming off consecutive complete games, yielded 10 hits and five runs in 5 2-3 innings.
Jose Altuve added three hits for Houston to raise his average to .345, and Chris Carter and Brandon Barnes each drove in a run for the Astros. Dominguez made three errors at third base after entering the game with one all season.
Houston starter Lucas Harrell yielded four hits and two runs, but walked six in five innings.
Paul Clemens replaced Harrell to start the sixth and Harris connected on his third pitch for a homer to center that tied it 3-all.
Altuve singled and stole second base in the fourth before Carter’s two-out single tied it at 2.
A grounder by Barnes dribbled away from Trumbo at first and into the outfield for an RBI single that put Houston up 3-2 in the fifth.
Hamilton, who broke a 20-game home run drought with a solo shot Wednesday, opened the second inning with a drive to the bullpen in center field to make it 1-0.
Dominguez tied it with an RBI single in the bottom half.
Trumbo reached on an error by Dominguez – his second of the game – with one out in the third. Harrell then loaded the bases on consecutive walks before a sacrifice fly by Callaspo put the Angels up 2-1.
NOTES: Los Angeles reliever Scott Downs left in the eighth with a right foot injury. … Angels shortstop Erick Aybar left in the bottom of the fourth because of tightness in his right hamstring. He was replaced by Harris. Aybar went 0 for 3, ending an 11-game hitting streak. … Chris Iannetta walked a career-high four times. … Los Angeles reliever Ryan Madson, who missed last season after Tommy John surgery, threw 21 pitches in a camp game at extended spring training. Scioscia said Madson will probably pitch in two games there before moving to the Class-A California League to continue his work. “His stuff looked good, so it’s a first step,” Scioscia said. Madson is scheduled to throw again on Saturday.