ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Tommy La Stella hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels snapped their four-game losing streak with a 7-6 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.
Mike Trout hit his 10th homer and Albert Pujols had a tiebreaking two-run double, but the Angels still fell behind in the sixth inning on Mike Yastrzemski’s two-run double for San Francisco.
The Halos didn’t rally until David Fletcher got a one-out single in the ninth and La Stella knocked the ball off the video board above the right field fence for his first career walk-off homer and the Angels’ first comeback victory of the entire season.
La Stella said the last time he ended a game with a homer was “when I was seven, so a little bit of a layoff between the two.”
“I was just reading it and reacting,” he added. “I just wanted to make sure I didn’t swing out of the zone, especially with Mike coming up next.”
Trevor Gott (1-2) blew his third save opportunity for the Giants, who lost their fifth straight overall after blowing a ninth-inning lead for the third time in their last four games. Gott gave up a ninth-inning homer for the sixth time already this season, and manager Gabe Kapler said he will look for a new closer.
“In the long term, my confidence in Trevor Gott has not changed,” Kapler said. “In the short term, we’ll look for a softer landing spot for him. I think we’re going to need to figure out how to get his confidence back.”
Brandon Belt hit an early two-run homer and Mauricio Dubón had two hits for the Giants, whose bullpen was solid until it wasn’t. San Francisco has lost 12 of 15.
“It’s been a rough few games, but this doesn’t have to define our season,” Belt said. “We’re going through a rut right now, and unfortunately we don’t have a lot of time to stay in this rut, so we’ve got to figure out something quickly.”
Ty Buttrey (1-0) pitched the ninth for Los Angeles, which won for the first time in 11 games this season in which its opponent scored first.
“We’ve been in this position to win a lot of games,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We have to learn how to win late, and we’re still searching for that.”
Anthony Rendon had an RBI double in another strong offensive night for the Angels, but their pitching stumbled yet again. Starter Griffin Canning gave up six hits and three runs while failing to get out of the fifth inning.
“We haven’t all been clicking at the same time yet, but this is a great team, and these guys are resilient and we’ve been pushing through it,” La Stella said. “Hopefully this is the start of something.”
Tyler Anderson yielded eight hits and five runs over five innings for San Francisco.
La Stella also drove in Los Angeles’ first run with a sacrifice fly in the third. Trout then drilled Anderson’s next pitch into the elevated right field stands.
After Rendon’s ground rule double drove in a run in the fifth, Pujols connected for a 5-3 lead.
Pujols missed his 660th career homer by about 5 feet when the double hit the base of the left field wall. Pujols had been hoping to tie Willie Mays for fifth place in baseball homers history exactly 47 years to the day after Mays hit his final homer.
Instead, Pujols got his 2,085th career RBI to pull right behind Alex Rodriguez (2,086) for second place in baseball history. His 663 doubles are seventh in baseball history behind George Brett (665).
Fletcher extended his hitting streak to a career-best 16 games with a leadoff single in the first inning.
The three-time AL MVP has nine homers in 14 games since he returned to the team from the birth of his first child. As he rounded third, Trout smilingly pointed up at the cardboard cutouts in the “Family Section” at Angel Stadium, which has a likeness of his new son, Beckham.
Justin Upton went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts for the Angels, dropping his average to .100. The four-time All-Star, who is making $21 million this season, is in a 1-for-34 slump.
Giants: LHP Drew Smyly, sidelined by a sprained index finger on his pitching hand, didn’t make the quick road trip and continues to throw off flat ground in his recovery. … RHP Sam Coonrod (right lat strain) traveled to Sacramento on Monday to throw live batting practice. … RHP Jeff Samardzija will begin a throwing program Wednesday as he works back from inflammation in his throwing shoulder.
Angels: SS Andrelton Simmons took grounders again as he inches toward a return from a sprained ankle. Manager Joe Maddon isn’t sure when the four-time Gold Glove winner will be ready. He has missed three weeks. … DH Shohei Ohtani had a day off to “clear his head a little bit,” Maddon said. Ohtani is batting. 203 with four homers.
Dylan Bundy (3-1, 1.57 ERA) looks to continue his spectacular start to the season in the Angels’ homestand finale. San Francisco counters with Trevor Cahill (0-0, 0.00), who led the Angels in innings pitched last year despite getting banished to the bullpen early in his single ineffective season in Anaheim.
AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this report.
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