In 103-degree heat, behind their ace Jered Weaver, the Angels had nursed a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning. Weaver had allowed two home runs, but Howie Kendrick's solo blast in the fifth inning had given the visitors that one-run advantage. Had the Angels hung on to win, they would have been just one game behind in the division race.
It's not over yet, but if Texas does wind up winning, the Angels will look back at these four pitches and wish they had them to do over again.
The first pitch of the bottom of the seventh was hit for a double by David Murphy. The second pitch, lined to center by Ian Kinsler, scoring Murphy to tie the game. The third pitch was bunted by Elvis Andrus -- and the Angels couldn't field it; both runners were safe.
That brought Mike Scioscia to the mound to replace Weaver, who had matched the temperature with his 103rd pitch. The fourth pitch of the inning, thrown by reliever Scott Downs, was laced into center field by Josh Hamilton, scoring Kinsler from second with the lead run. More pitching changes and more runs followed; the Rangers wound up with a four-run inning. Texas won the game 9-5 and the series two games to one. Instead of being just one game out of first place, the Angels left Texas three games behind (although just two back in the loss column).
This race isn't quite over. It's not yet September; the Rangers have 28 games remaining, the Angels 30. The two teams will finish the regular season with a three-game set in Anaheim from Sept. 26-28, giving the Angels some hope they can still catch Texas and finish first.
But if they don't, they will always remember those four pitches in August.