HOUSTON — The Los Angeles Angels protested Thursday night’s game against Houston and then beat the Astros anyway.
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 in a game that lasted more than four hours.
“It was huge,” Trumbo said. “It was a draining game. It was over four hours. We battled our hearts out and (we) like the way it went, especially going into a new series. This is what we’re going to have to do. They’re not going to be easy and if this is indicative of what we’re going to do, we’ve got to do it.”
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. It also was the longest nine-inning game in Minute Maid Park history.
Josh Hamilton and Brendan Harris homered for the Angels, who have won just three of their last 12 road games.
The Angels felt lucky to escape with a win after leaving 16 on base and going 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
“There aren’t many games you’re going to win when you leave 16 guys on base,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “It’s a great character game for our guys. I feel good for them. The clubhouse feels good. We held on. We kept pressuring them and got some key hits as the game went on.”
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 rookie 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.
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.
“My contention was that the pitcher came in, had to face one batter,” Scioscia said. “I protested, and we’re happy we won (the game).”
Crew chief Fieldin Culbreth wouldn’t say much about the situation.
“Well, the only thing I can tell you is that all matters concerning protests are handled through the league office,” he said.
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.
“Technically, Wesley came in to face the batter that was scheduled to hit, but he pinch-hit for the batter that was scheduled to hit, which my understanding of the rule means you can now bring in another pitcher to face the pinch-hitter,” Porter said.
Scioscia lodged an official protest that he said 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.
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.
Indians trump Athletics
CLEVELAND — Jason Kipnis, Nick Swisher and Mark Reynolds hit indisputable home runs and Scott Kazmir struck out 10 in six innings, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 9-2 win over Oakland and a four-game sweep of the Athletics.
The Indians ended the series with a convincing blowout, one day after they won 4-3 with the help of a blown call in the ninth inning when umpires, after watching a video replay, ruled that an apparent tying home run by Oakland’s Adam Rosales was a double.
Major League Baseball acknowledged the umpires made an “improper call,” but executive vice president Joe Torre said the decision is final.
Kipnis hit a two-run homer in the first off Bartolo Colon (3-2) for the Indians, who won for the 10th time in 11 games and improved to 13-4 since April 20. Kazmir (2-1) allowed one run and five hits and has won back-to-back starts for the first time since 2010.
Josh Donaldson homered for the A’s, who fell to .500 (18-18) for the first time since April 4.
TWINS 5, RED SOX 3
BOSTON — Oswaldo Arcia hit a two-run homer and Minnesota capitalized on a costly throwing error by Boston starter John Lackey to beat the struggling Red Sox.
Lackey’s wild throw to second on a potential inning-ending double play gave the Twins another chance in the sixth and they responded with four unearned runs to take a 5-2 lead.
The Red Sox lost for the sixth time in seven games and fell out of first place in the AL East.
Kevin Correia (4-2) pitched 5 1-3 innings for the Twins and Glen Perkins pitched the ninth for his eighth save in eight chances.
Lackey (1-3) allowed six hits and one walk and struck out eight in seven innings.
RAYS 5, BLUE JAYS 4, 10 INNINGS
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Luke Scott drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the 10th inning to give Tampa Bay a victory over Toronto.
The Rays loaded the bases on Evan Longoria’s double off Aaron Loup (1-3) and two walks.
The game featured a rare matchup of reigning Cy Young Award winners, however David Price and R.A. Dickey were not involved in the decision. Dickey allowed three runs and five hits, walked five and struck out five in six innings for the Blue Jays. Price worked eight innings for Tampa Bay, yielding four runs — two earned— and seven hits in eight innings.
Kyle Farnsworth (2-0) pitched one inning to get the win.
ROYALS 6, ORIOLES 2
BALTIMORE — Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer homered in a four-run fourth inning, Jeremy Guthrie pitched effectively against his former team and Kansas City avoided a three-game sweep.
Gordon and Hosmer both connected against Freddy Garcia (0-1) with a runner on.
Mike Moustakas also homered for the Royals, who snapped a three-game skid. The three home runs were a season high for Kansas City, which began the game with an AL-low 19 long balls.
Facing the Orioles for the first time since they traded him to Colorado in February 2012, Guthrie (5-0) allowed one earned run, seven hits and three walks in six innings to lower his ERA to 2.28.
Garcia retired the first 10 batters he faced before getting into trouble in the fourth.
Mets stop Pirates
NEW YORK — Rookie center fielder Juan Lagares robbed Andrew McCutchen of a go-ahead hit in the top of the ninth inning, then pinch-hitter Mike Baxter’s single in the bottom half sent the Mets over the Pirates.
Baxter delivered his second winning pinch-hit in three days. His 10th-inning single Tuesday beat the Chicago White Sox.
This time, Baxter batted for Lagares and won it.
Lagares was equally responsible for the victory. With a runner on first and two outs, McCutchen hit a loud shot into faraway right-center field. Lagares glided back, perfectly timed his leap and plucked the ball at the top of the fence as he rammed into the padded wall.
Marlon Byrd singled to start the Mets’ ninth off Jason Grilli (0-1). Andrew Brown sacrificed and Baxter followed by grounding a single up the middle, easily scoring Byrd.
Bobby Parnell (4-0) pitched the ninth. The Pirates have lost four of five.
Pedro Alvarez hit a solo home run in the eighth off Mets reliever LaTroy Hawkins that made it 2-all.
BRAVES 6, GIANTS 3
SAN FRANCISCO — Brian McCann hit a two-run homer and an RBI single in his third game this season since coming off the disabled list, and Atlanta beat San Francisco to begin a four-game series between NL division leaders.
Julio Teheran (2-0) pitched seven efficient innings after his last scheduled outing was rained out Saturday. Craig Kimbrel earned his 100th career save, becoming the second-youngest pitcher to do so.
Buster Posey hit a two-run homer and an RBI single, but the Giants were done in by the fifth inning when the Braves batted around. San Francisco (20-15) fell into a first-place tie in the NL West with Arizona.
Ryan Vogelsong (1-3) gave up six runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings. He is winless in five starts.
DIAMONDBACKS 2, PHILLIES 1
PHOENIX — Patrick Corbin won his fifth consecutive decision to start the season and drove in a run to help Arizona beat Philadelphia.
Corbin (5-0) scattered four hits over 6 1-3 innings and allowed one run to lower his ERA to 1.75. The left-hander became the first pitcher to throw at least six innings and allow two or fewer runs in his first seven starts of a season since Ubaldo Jimenez had 12 straight such outings for Colorado in 2010.
Heath Bell threw seven pitches in a scoreless ninth for his third save in three nights since taking over for injured closer J.J. Putz.
Cole Hamels (1-5) gave up two runs on six hits and five walks in six innings.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel set a franchise record with his 1,332nd game as the club’s skipper. The 69-year-old Manuel, the 51st manager in the team’s 123-year history, passed Gene Mauch, who managed Philadelphia from 1960-68.
NATIONALS 5, TIGERS 4
WASHINGTON — Ryan Mattheus, Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano combined for shutout relief after Dan Haren nearly squandered a four-run lead, and Washington beat Detroit to complete a two-game sweep of the AL champions.
Ryan Zimmerman had three hits, helping the Nationals to their first four-game winning streak of the year.
Tigers pitcher Doug Fister (4-1) had an RBI single in the second off Haren (4-3), but the Nationals made it 5-1 in the bottom half on consecutive run-scoring singles by Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche.
Haren allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings, giving up a three-run homer to pinch-hitter Matt Tuiasosopo. Soriano converted his 12th save in 13 chances, retiring Prince Fielder on a game-ending flyout to the center-field warning track with a runner on.
Fister gave up five runs — four earned — on eight hits and four walks in three innings, his first loss since Game 2 of the World Series at San Francisco last October. It was his shortest career start other than an outing at Cleveland in August 2011 when he was taken out after two innings because of a long rain delay.
YANKEES 3, ROCKIES 1
DENVER — CC Sabathia and five relievers held Colorado to four hits, Robinson Cano smacked a solo homer and New York beat Colorado in a game that was delayed more than two hours by rain.
Cano also had an infield single in the third inning for his 1,500th hit as the Yankees took two of three from the Rockies.
A steady rain delayed the first pitch by 8 minutes. In the fourth, another thunderstorm halted the game for 1:59. That break meant the end of the day for Sabathia, who allowed one run and one hit in four innings.
A stream of relievers picked up where he left off. Adam Warren (1-0) picked up his first big league win by getting five big outs after the delay. Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth to remain perfect in 13 save chances.
Jeff Francis (1-3) threw four innings and gave up two runs before rain forced the umpires to signal for the tarp.