Can Ohtani do for SoCal what Ichiro did for Seattle?

So far, Shohei Ohtani is so-so.

On the mound, the Angels’ Japanese phenom has shown flashes of brilliance, not dominance. At the plate he’s yet to show the power or speed or bat-to-ball skills that scouts have long seen in Ohtani.

  • Shohei Ohtani is introduced by the Angels during a press conference at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Shohei Ohtani is introduced by the Angels during a press conference at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • An Ohtani fan waits for autographs outside Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)

    An Ohtani fan waits for autographs outside Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Ohtani fans show their support as the Angels’ take on the Milwaukee Brewers at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Ohtani fans show their support as the Angels’ take on the Milwaukee Brewers at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A young Angels’ fans looks at merchandise next to two Ohtani-themed items at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A young Angels’ fans looks at merchandise next to two Ohtani-themed items at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Fans try to get Shohei Ohtani’s attention after the first official Spring Training workout for Angels’ pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Fans try to get Shohei Ohtani’s attention after the first official Spring Training workout for Angels’ pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Japanese fans show their support as Shohei Ohtani is introduced by the Angels during a press conference at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Japanese fans show their support as Shohei Ohtani is introduced by the Angels during a press conference at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Fans looks through the fence hoping to see the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani during the first official spring training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Fans looks through the fence hoping to see the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani during the first official spring training workout for pitchers and catchers at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe, Ariz. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Japanese fans show their support as Shohei Ohtani is introduced by the Angels during a press conference at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Japanese fans show their support as Shohei Ohtani is introduced by the Angels during a press conference at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Fans wait for autographs outside Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Fans wait for autographs outside Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG)

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It’s only spring training, of course; sample sizes are minuscule. Also, the 23-year-old is making a huge jump of culture and competition, from Japan’s Nippon Baseball League to America’s Major Leagues.

But, so far, Ohtani is not Babe Ruth.

And that might matter more than you’d think.

There’s zero doubt that Ohtani’s on-the-field performance will help determine how the Angels fare this season. What’s less understood is what Ohtani’s performance — particularly if he catches fire as the first two-way big leaguer in recent history — might mean to Southern California’s economy.

Ohtani, who signed with the Angels in December, has been a pretty big spring training story in the U.S. But he’s a much bigger deal in his home country, where his celebrity transcends sports.

Dozens of Japanese reporters and photographers are in Arizona this month working full time to tell the Ohtani story back home. Every game he’s in — every strikeout on the mound or at the plate — is a potential Ohtani headline in Japan.

Japanese fans and media because of Ohtani’s potential to transform the American big leagues as a two-way player, similar to the way Ichiro Suzuki once proved Japanese position players could be among the best in the world.

And it appears the Angels, who this year will pay Ohtani the major league minimum of $545,000, are ready to capitalize on that.

Revenue generator

Every recent Rose Parade has included a high school marching band from Japan. And every December, to prep for their appearance in the Rose Parade, that Japanese band practices in the parking lot of Anaheim Stadium.

Most years, band members simply practice in the parking lot while their families go sight-seeing at Disneyland, Los Angeles and San Diego. They show little interest in shopping at the Angels’ stadium store, said Etsuko Brodnick, a staffer with the Green Band Association, which brings the Japanese bands to the Rose Parade.

This past December — days after Ohtani signed — was different.

Some 70 parents of band members descended on the Angels store, spending upwards of $100 per family on Ohtani shirts plus Angels caps, blankets, Rally Monkeys and related swag, Brodnick said. The group even took a photo in front of Ohtani banners unfurled at the stadium’s main entrance.

“They all knew about Ohtani and the Angels; more than I did,” Brodnick, who lives in Anaheim, said in Japanese.

And Ohtani figures to be much more than a retail force.

Last month, during Ohtani’s first press conference at spring training, the Angels announced that they’ve struck a sponsorship agreement with Funai Electric. The Japanese consumer electronics company will sponsor the backdrop at Angels press conferences and advertise behind home plate in spring training and the regular season.

Funai, which has an office in Torrance, aims “to establish its brand and increase brand awareness both in Japan and the U.S.,” the company stated in a Japanese press release.

That goal could be met if Japanese baseball fans see enough of Ohtani in an Angels uniform.

“He’s going to drive attendance and everything that comes with attendance, like merchandise sales. And (he’s going to) bring a lot of international notoriety to the Angels,” said David Carter, executive director of USC Marshall Sports Business Institute, when asked about the marketing power of Ohtani.

“It gives the Angels the chance to amplify their brand on a global basis, and (to) generate revenue on a local basis.”

The Angels have had Japanese players before, but none had Ohtani’s potential to thrive on the field and as a business vehicle. Shigetoshi Hasegawa was a solid 28-year-old starter in 1997 when he came to the Angels from Japan, and spent five seasons in Anaheim as a set-up reliever. In 2010, Hideki Matsui — considered one of the best Japanese sluggers of all time — hit 21 home runs for the Angels. But it was his only season with the club and, at 36, his best seasons were already behind him.

Ohtani, his spring training blahs notwithstanding, is widely viewed as the most talented player to leave Japan since Suzuki, who was the first Japanese-born position player to sign with a major league club.

And the Angels can control Ohtani for at least six years.

“That allows prospective partners to make longer term agreements, etc,” Angels spokesman Tim Mead wrote via email.

“I think we will have a better sense of the business impact (of Ohtani) a bit later in the season.”

Perhaps a better comparison for Ohtani is Suzuki, who came to the Seattle Mariners in 2001 as an already established legend in Japan. Though he’s still playing (at 44, Suzuki just signed a deal to return to the Mariners) he’s had a spectacular career in the United States.

His success on the field transformed Seattle’s tourism industry.

Before Suzuki took Seattle by storm, the city wasn’t a big destination for Japanese tourists, said Marjorie Dewey, president of Connect-Worldwide Japan who runs the Tokyo office of Visit Seattle, a non-profit economic development agency that promotes tourism in that city.

But in Suzuki’s first year the man known worldwide as Ichiro had a season for the ages. He led the American League in hitting and stolen bases and won the Most Valuable Player award.

As Suzuki proved himself in the big leagues, tourists from Japan — now the world’s third largest economy — flocked to Seattle.

Japanese travel agencies offered package tours to Seattle centered around Mariners’ games. The name “Seattle Mariners” and the city of Seattle was mentioned on Japanese TV and newspapers everyday, all thanks to Suzuki.

As a result, the number of visitors to Seattle from Japan jumped from about 60,000 per year to 120,000 at its peak, Dewey said. The Mariners’ home stadium, Safeco Field, and nearby hotels even began posting Japanese signage and serving Japanese food.

In turn, those tourists helped other businesses as they spent money outside the stadium, Dewey said.

“Ichiro was a major reason Seattle became known as a tourist destination among the Japanese people,” Dewey said, in Japanese, in a phone interview.

Dewey doesn’t think Ohtani will make the same economic impact. For one thing, these days there are other star Japanese stars players in Major League Baseball — pitchers Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka, among others — to split fans’ attention.

For another, the Anaheim/Southern California area isn’t Seattle. Disneyland, the beach, Hollywood; all are factors that drive tourist dollars, including Japanese money, to the region. Whatever Ohtani might add to that figures to be relatively small.

“It will depend on how much Japanese media coverage Ohtani gets,” Dewey said.

Much will depend on the novelty of Ohtani’s career. If he’s only a good or even great pitcher, or a great hitter, he’ll be a fine producer on the field, for the Angels, but not a huge marketing draw.

But if he can somehow excel at both? Interest in Ohtani, in Japan and around the world, could explode — along with his marketing potential.

Comparing the marketing power of Ohtani and Suzuki is, according to USC’s Carter, “an extremely tricky question.”

Two-way game changer?

In Japan, Ohtani, at 23, performed at an all-star level as both a pitcher and a hitter. In the major leagues, he will be considered an amazing player — and a huge story — if he can be even above average at both.

The Angels on-the-field plan for Ohtani — to use him as a starting pitcher and a designated hitter a few days a week — should drive attendance, Carter said. And now that Suzuki is back with the Mariners, who are in the same American League West division as the Angels, that will only add more interest for Japanese fans (the Angels will first host the Mariners July 10).

But a key for the Angels’ marketing is to keep Ohtani healthy and follow through on their strategy to play him two ways, said USC’s Carter.

Ken Yanagisawa, the president of PHR Management, which runs Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel, said he hopes to see as much as a 20 percent increase in the number of Japanese tourists to Orange County.

“Anaheim has enough attractive spots other than theme parks, like the Packing House, to make it a popular destination for Japanese tourists,” Dewey said.

“Right now, most people who visit Disneyland just stay around the park. But people who come to see baseball might try other places.”

The Orange County Business Council recently selected Ohtani as one of its six “Game Changers” for 2018.

Lucy Dunn, chief executive of the Business Council, said one reason for the designation is simply Ohtani’s decision to sign with the Angels over bigger market teams, like the Yankees and the Dodgers.

But she added that Ohtani could strengthen Orange County’s bond with Japanese companies. That includes, she said, Japanese companies that have operations in Southern California and others that might consider expanding here.

It’s a lot riding on a baseball player.

“Having (Ohtani) come to the U.S. has got to be a real game changer for us,” Dunn said. “It’s… global connectivity.”

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Ben Revere calmly strokes the winning hit for Angels in 10th

OAKLAND — Ben Revere admitted in a postgame TV interview that the situation he faced in the 10th inning on Tuesday night is one that, when he was young, might have made him a little nervous.

To be precise, nervous enough to “almost” soil himself “a little.”

Fortunately for the Angels, Revere is now 29 years old and a veteran of parts of eight big league seasons and one postseason. He’s also learned relaxation techniques from a 14-year-old buddy movie.

After Revere’s single in the 10th put the Angels on top in their 8-7 victory over the Oakland A’s, he explained.

“Just take deep breaths,” he said. “Wooosah style a little bit. Let the game come to you.”

Revere was referring to the meditation phrase he saw repeated in Bad Boys 2, the 2003 Will Smith-Martin Lawrence movie.

The point is, Revere was able to calm himself enough to poke a 3-and-2 pitch from Blake Treinen into left field, just barely out of the reach of diving Matt Joyce.

When it dropped, the Angels had taken the lead in the rollercoaster game, and Revere had gotten back a little more of the luck he felt he was so lacking when it seemed all his line drives were finding gloves in the first half.

“I got some hits and I got some confidence back, and I feel like I can get back to my normal self,” Revere said.

Revere’s hit was the last one, but the biggest ones came from C.J. Cron, who been one of the keys to the Angels’ recently robust offense.

Cron hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth, followed by a triple to drive in the go-ahead run in the eighth, followed by a single just before Revere’s hit in the 10th.

Cron has hit .305 with 12 homers since the All-Star break. Now that the Angels have added Brandon Phillips and Justin Upton, Cron is hitting eighth in the lineup.

“Right now our lineup is much deeper, and he might seem like an afterthought, but he’s important to us,” Scioscia said. “He’s hitting the ball hard.”

With tonight’s win, @Angels take a half-game lead over Twins for second AL #WildCard spot: https://t.co/OOUuRWvcjj pic.twitter.com/s33Z7Rmywy

— MLB (@MLB) September 6, 2017

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Cliff Pennington’s first career grand slam rallies Angels to sweep of A’s

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols hits a two run home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols hits a two run home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell wipes his brow during a humid first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell wipes his brow during a humid first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell throws to the plate during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell throws to the plate during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell walks to the dugout after the top of the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell walks to the dugout after the top of the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout hits a solo home run in front of catcher Bruce Maxwell in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout hits a solo home run in front of catcher Bruce Maxwell in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout hits a solo home run in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout hits a solo home run in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout celebrates his solo home run in front of Oakland catcher Bruce Maxwell in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout celebrates his solo home run in front of Oakland catcher Bruce Maxwell in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout celebrates his solo home run in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout celebrates his solo home run in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Martin Maldonado heads to the dugout after striking out in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Martin Maldonado heads to the dugout after striking out in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A fan catches a third inning home run by the Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A fan catches a third inning home run by the Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols rounds the bases after his two-run home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols rounds the bases after his two-run home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels catcher Martin Maldonado looks on as the Oakland Athletics’ Matt Olson scores after his three-run home run in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels catcher Martin Maldonado looks on as the Oakland Athletics’ Matt Olson scores after his three-run home run in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Oakland Athletics’ Bruce Maxwell hits a two-run home run off of Angels starter Parker Bridwell in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Oakland Athletics’ Bruce Maxwell hits a two-run home run off of Angels starter Parker Bridwell in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell reacts after the Oakland Athletics’ Bruce Maxwell hits a two-run home run in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell reacts after the Oakland Athletics’ Bruce Maxwell hits a two-run home run in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Blake Wood throws to the plate during the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Blake Wood throws to the plate during the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell sits in the dugout after being taken out of the game after giving up seven runs during an eight run fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell sits in the dugout after being taken out of the game after giving up seven runs during an eight run fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Blake Wood throws to the plate during the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Blake Wood throws to the plate during the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels’ C.J. Cron kneels on the field as first base umpire Ben May signals a fair ball on a run scoring single by the Oakland Athletics’ Jed Lowrie during an eight run fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels’ C.J. Cron kneels on the field as first base umpire Ben May signals a fair ball on a run scoring single by the Oakland Athletics’ Jed Lowrie during an eight run fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols Mike Trout rounds second base during his triple in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols Mike Trout rounds second base during his triple in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout celebrates after his triple in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout celebrates after his triple in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols rounds the bases after his two-run home run in the fifth inning, his second of the game, against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols rounds the bases after his two-run home run in the fifth inning, his second of the game, against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols celebrates with Mike Trout after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols celebrates with Mike Trout after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols, center left, hugs catcher Martin Maldonado as they celebrate Pujols’ two-run home run, his second home run of the night, during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols, center left, hugs catcher Martin Maldonado as they celebrate Pujols’ two-run home run, his second home run of the night, during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols celebrates after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols celebrates after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels C.J. Cron stretches at first to get the out on the Oakland Athletics’ Matt Joyce in the seventh inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels C.J. Cron stretches at first to get the out on the Oakland Athletics’ Matt Joyce in the seventh inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols reacts after being hit by a pitch in the seventh inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols reacts after being hit by a pitch in the seventh inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington watches his grand slam during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington watches his grand slam during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington watches the flight of his grand slam during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington watches the flight of his grand slam during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • A young fan catches a seventh inning grand slam by the Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A young fan catches a seventh inning grand slam by the Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington celebrates his first career grand slam during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington celebrates his first career grand slam during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington celebrates his first career grand slam, during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington celebrates his first career grand slam, during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun, Luis Valbuena and Albert Pujols wait for Cliff Pennington after his seventh inning grand slam against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun, Luis Valbuena and Albert Pujols wait for Cliff Pennington after his seventh inning grand slam against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun, Luis Valbuena and Albert Pujols celebrate with Cliff Pennington after his seventh inning grand slam against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun, Luis Valbuena and Albert Pujols celebrate with Cliff Pennington after his seventh inning grand slam against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Fans cheer as Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington, center, celebrates his first career grand slam with teammates during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Fans cheer as Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington, center, celebrates his first career grand slam with teammates during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun celebrates with Cliff Pennington after Pennington’s seventh inning grand slam, his first career grand slam, against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun celebrates with Cliff Pennington after Pennington’s seventh inning grand slam, his first career grand slam, against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Blake Parker celebrates after getting the save during the Angels’ 10-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Blake Parker celebrates after getting the save during the Angels’ 10-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout jogs in from the outfield after the Angels’ 10-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout jogs in from the outfield after the Angels’ 10-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Ben Revere douses Cliff Pennington after the Angels’ 10-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Ben Revere douses Cliff Pennington after the Angels’ 10-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington is doused with liquid by Ben Revere following the team’s 10-8 win against the Oakland Athletics in a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. Pennington hit his first career grand slam. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington is doused with liquid by Ben Revere following the team’s 10-8 win against the Oakland Athletics in a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. Pennington hit his first career grand slam. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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ANAHEIM — On an unusually hot night at Angel Stadium, Cliff Pennington stopped to chat with Jed Lowrie about the one thing that has captivated their free time this week.

Not baseball. Harvey.

Pennington, the Angels’ shortstop, and Lowrie, the Oakland A’s second baseman, both live in Houston. In some way, each of them has been affected by the hurricane that made landfall last Saturday on Texas’ southeast coast. Harvey, which has since been downgraded to a tropical depression, could become the most costly natural disaster in United States history.

Lowrie had just advanced to second base when he and Pennington traded updates in the fourth inning Wednesday. Other than that moment, Pennington said, natural disaster was not on his mind during the Angels’ 10-8 win over the A’s.

“I thought about it afterwards a little bit,” said Pennington, whose grand slam in the eighth inning proved to be the game-winning hit. “I wasn’t trying to dedicate it to anything like that. I’m just trying to play as hard as I can every night, like I have every time. Sometimes you get it. Sometimes you don’t. When you have something like this going on, obviously it feels good because there’s a lot of not feeling good away from the field.”

Pennington has hit 36 home runs in a major league career that began in 2008. This was his first grand slam.

Comeback complete! @CliffPenn7 comes up with a HUGE slam for the @Angels. https://t.co/9B2XCZpcrB #PapaSlam pic.twitter.com/P6q2HO6QN2

— MLB (@MLB) August 31, 2017

On a night when Mike Trout chased a cycle into his final at-bat, and Albert Pujols tied Jim Thome for seventh place on baseball’s all-time home run list, the Angels’ biggest hit came from a 33-year-old utility player with a wife and three children living in a federal disaster area.

Pennington said his family is OK. At his suburban home, his household now includes a cousin who was rescued from his Houston apartment complex Monday by a civilian on a jet ski. Some of his neighborhood was submerged by flood waters, but Pennington said his house is high enough that it avoided damage.

What did the grand slam mean to Pennington’s inner circle?

“I have 15 text messages,” he said after the game, “and probably 12 of them are flood pictures.”

The Angels’ four main opponents in the American League wild-card race all won Wednesday. The Minnesota Twins (69-63) routed the Chicago White Sox earlier in the day, forcing the Angels (69-65) to win to remain a game out of playoff contention.

Seven teams are separated by four games in the race for the final wild-card berth. The Angels have a day off Thursday before beginning a three-game series in Texas against the Rangers.

Oakland led 8-5 when the Angels struck for five runs in the seventh inning.

With one out, reliever Ryan Dull allowed a single to Trout and hit Pujols with a pitch, putting runners on first and second. Left-hander Daniel Coulombe relieved Dull and promptly allowed a single to Kole Calhoun, scoring Trout. Right-hander Chris Hatcher (0-2) relieved Coulombe and struck out C.J. Cron for the second out, then walked Luis Valbuena to load the bases.

On a 2-and-2 count, Pennington crushed a 95-mph fastball to right field over the fence in right field. The initial home run call was upheld by a video review, giving Pennington three home runs this season and giving the Angels a 10-8 lead.

Trout needed four plate appearances to hit a home run, a triple and a single, leaving him a double shy of his second career cycle. He then singled in his fifth plate appearance of the game. Trout scored four runs, matching a career high. His four-hit outburst snapped a rare 0-for-17 slump.

Pujols’ second home run against A’s pitcher Kendall Graveman gave him 612 in his career and 20 this season. His four RBI gave him 1,900, making Pujols the 10th player ever to reach that career milestone.

6⃣1⃣2⃣@PujolsFive mashes his way into a tie with Jim Thome for 7th on the all-time HR list. pic.twitter.com/SfwrI2Hodw

— MLB (@MLB) August 31, 2017

In the third inning, Pujols followed Trout’s triple with a rare home run into the right field bleachers. His last opposite-field home run was on April 15 of last year.

“It’s great to see Albert having a great night tonight,” Manager Mike Scioscia said, “but we need to be more than those guys.”

Angels starter Parker Bridwell hardly struggled for three innings against the A’s, who were swept in Anaheim for the second time this season. But he began the fourth inning by walking Lowrie, lost his release point, and torpedoed his chance at a win.

The first seven A’s hitters all reached base against Bridwell. All of them scored, turning a 3-0 deficit into a 7-3 lead. The rookie right-hander was removed after throwing 34 pitches in the fourth inning without recording an out. Bridwell’s earned-run average rose from 2.79 to 3.52.

The Angels’ bullpen offered atonement. Blake Wood allowed one run in two innings. Yusmeiro Petit (one inning), Cam Bedrosian (one), and Jose Alvarez (two-thirds) got the ball to Blake Parker with two outs in the eighth inning without allowing another run. Bedrosian (4-3) was credited with the victory.

Parker worked the final 1⅓ innings. The veteran right-hander has converted four saves this season, including the Angels’ last three opportunities.

Pennington started at shortstop on a rare day of rest for Andrelton Simmons. He considered his 42nd start of the season a welcome respite before it was back to the clubhouse, back to his phone, back to a dozen unfathomable pictures of his home state.

“There’s thousands and thousands of stories,” Pennington said. “Everyone is kind of dealing with it at some level. It’s tough.”

Big @MikeTrout games >>>. https://t.co/fQuWELY6qg pic.twitter.com/FVcyYrgvcZ

— MLB (@MLB) August 31, 2017

Read more about Cliff Pennington’s first career grand slam rallies Angels to sweep of A’s This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. Santa Ana Shredding Service

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Cliff Pennington’s grand slam rallies Angels to sweep of A’s

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols hits a two run home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols hits a two run home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell wipes his brow during a humid first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell wipes his brow during a humid first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell throws to the plate during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell throws to the plate during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell walks to the dugout after the top of the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell walks to the dugout after the top of the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout hits a solo home run in front of catcher Bruce Maxwell in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout hits a solo home run in front of catcher Bruce Maxwell in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout hits a solo home run in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout hits a solo home run in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout celebrates his solo home run in front of Oakland catcher Bruce Maxwell in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout celebrates his solo home run in front of Oakland catcher Bruce Maxwell in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout celebrates his solo home run in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout celebrates his solo home run in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Martin Maldonado heads to the dugout after striking out in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Martin Maldonado heads to the dugout after striking out in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A fan catches a third inning home run by the Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A fan catches a third inning home run by the Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols rounds the bases after his two-run home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols rounds the bases after his two-run home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels catcher Martin Maldonado looks on as the Oakland Athletics’ Matt Olson scores after his three-run home run in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels catcher Martin Maldonado looks on as the Oakland Athletics’ Matt Olson scores after his three-run home run in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Oakland Athletics’ Bruce Maxwell hits a two-run home run off of Angels starter Parker Bridwell in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Oakland Athletics’ Bruce Maxwell hits a two-run home run off of Angels starter Parker Bridwell in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell reacts after the Oakland Athletics’ Bruce Maxwell hits a two-run home run in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell reacts after the Oakland Athletics’ Bruce Maxwell hits a two-run home run in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Blake Wood throws to the plate during the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Blake Wood throws to the plate during the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell sits in the dugout after being taken out of the game after giving up seven runs during an eight run fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Parker Bridwell sits in the dugout after being taken out of the game after giving up seven runs during an eight run fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Blake Wood throws to the plate during the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Blake Wood throws to the plate during the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels’ C.J. Cron kneels on the field as first base umpire Ben May signals a fair ball on a run scoring single by the Oakland Athletics’ Jed Lowrie during an eight run fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels’ C.J. Cron kneels on the field as first base umpire Ben May signals a fair ball on a run scoring single by the Oakland Athletics’ Jed Lowrie during an eight run fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols Mike Trout rounds second base during his triple in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols Mike Trout rounds second base during his triple in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout celebrates after his triple in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout celebrates after his triple in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols rounds the bases after his two-run home run in the fifth inning, his second of the game, against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols rounds the bases after his two-run home run in the fifth inning, his second of the game, against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols celebrates with Mike Trout after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols celebrates with Mike Trout after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols celebrates after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols celebrates after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels C.J. Cron stretches at first to get the out on the Oakland Athletics’ Matt Joyce in the seventh inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels C.J. Cron stretches at first to get the out on the Oakland Athletics’ Matt Joyce in the seventh inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols reacts after being hit by a pitch in the seventh inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols reacts after being hit by a pitch in the seventh inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A young fan catches a seventh inning grand slam by the Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A young fan catches a seventh inning grand slam by the Los Angeles Angels’ Cliff Pennington against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun, Luis Valbuena and Albert Pujols wait for Cliff Pennington after his seventh inning grand slam against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun, Luis Valbuena and Albert Pujols wait for Cliff Pennington after his seventh inning grand slam against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun, Luis Valbuena and Albert Pujols celebrate with Cliff Pennington after his seventh inning grand slam against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun, Luis Valbuena and Albert Pujols celebrate with Cliff Pennington after his seventh inning grand slam against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun celebrates with Cliff Pennington after Pennington’s seventh inning grand slam, his first career grand slam, against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun celebrates with Cliff Pennington after Pennington’s seventh inning grand slam, his first career grand slam, against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Blake Parker celebrates after getting the save during the Angels’ 10-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Blake Parker celebrates after getting the save during the Angels’ 10-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout jogs in from the outfield after the Angels’ 10-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout jogs in from the outfield after the Angels’ 10-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Ben Revere douses Cliff Pennington after the Angels’ 10-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Ben Revere douses Cliff Pennington after the Angels’ 10-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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ANAHEIM — Mike Trout hit a home run in his first at-bat after missing two games with a stiff neck. Albert Pujols hit two home runs, giving him a share of seventh place on baseball’s all-time home run list.

The Angels’ biggest home run? That was hit by a 33-year-old utility player with a wife and three children living in a federal disaster area.

Cliff Pennington’s grand slam in the seventh inning Wednesday gave the Angels a 10-8 win over the Oakland A’s, capping a three-game series sweep.

On a night when their four main opponents in the American League wild-card race all won, the victory left the Angels a game behind the Minnesota Twins for the AL’s final playoff berth.

Oakland led 8-5 after six innings when the Angels struck for five runs in the seventh.

A’s pitcher Ryan Dull allowed a single by Trout and hit Pujols with a pitch, putting runners on first and second with one out. Left-hander Daniel Coulombe relieved Dull and promptly allowed a single to Kole Calhoun, scoring Trout. Right-hander Chris Hatcher (0-2) relieved Coulombe and struck out C.J. Cron for the second out, then walked Luis Valbuena to load the bases.

On a 2-and-2 count, Pennington crushed a 95-mph fastball over the fence in right field. The initial call was upheld by a video review, giving Pennington three home runs this season and giving the Angels a 10-8 lead.

Comeback complete! @CliffPenn7 comes up with a HUGE slam for the @Angels. https://t.co/9B2XCZpcrB #PapaSlam pic.twitter.com/P6q2HO6QN2

— MLB (@MLB) August 31, 2017

Pujols’ second home run of the game, against A’s pitcher Kendall Graveman, gave him 612 for his career, matching Jim Thome for seventh on baseball’s all-time home run list. His four RBI gave him 1,900 for his career, making Pujols the 10th player to reach that milestone.

6⃣1⃣2⃣@PujolsFive mashes his way into a tie with Jim Thome for 7th on the all-time HR list. pic.twitter.com/SfwrI2Hodw

— MLB (@MLB) August 31, 2017

In the third inning, Pujols followed Trout’s triple with a rare home run into the right field bleachers. His last opposite-field home run was on April 15 of last year.

Trout needed four plate appearances to hit a home run, a triple and a single, leaving him a double shy of his second career cycle. He then singled in his fifth plate appearance in the eighth inning. Trout scored four runs, matching a career high.

Wednesday’s box score | Updated MLB wild card standings

The Minnesota Twins (69-63) routed the Chicago White Sox earlier in the day, temporarily moving them 1½ games ahead of the Angels (69-65) in the wild card standings. Seven teams are separated by four games. The Angels have a day off Thursday before beginning a three-game series in Texas against the Rangers.

Angels starter Parker Bridwell hardly struggled for three innings against the A’s, the fifth-place team in the AL West. But he began the fourth inning by walking Jed Lowrie, and his momentum only got worse from there.

The first seven A’s hitters all reached base and scored in the inning, turning a 3-0 deficit into a 7-3 lead. Bridwell was removed without recording an out. All seven runs were earned, rocketing his earned-run average from 2.79 to 3.52.

The Angels’ bullpen atoned for Bridwell’s mistakes. Blake Wood allowed one run in two innings. Yusmeiro Petit (one inning), Cam Bedrosian (one), and Jose Alvarez (two-thirds) got the ball to Blake Parker with two outs in the eighth inning without allowing another run. Bedrosian (4-3) was credited with the victory.

Parker, who has converted the Angels’ last two save opportunities, worked the final 1⅓ innings. The veteran right-hander has four saves this season.

Pennington, who lives in suburban Houston, has spent the week monitoring the path of Hurricane Harvey. His wife and three young children (ages 7, 3 and 2) rode out the storm holed up in their house over the weekend.

“I’ve pretty much lived on the radar and calling my wife and figuring out if it’s raining or flooding,” Pennington said Monday.

Pennington started at shortstop on a rare day of rest for Andrelton Simmons. The home run was only the 36th of his career and his first grand slam.

More to come on this story.

Big @MikeTrout games >>>. https://t.co/fQuWELY6qg pic.twitter.com/FVcyYrgvcZ

— MLB (@MLB) August 31, 2017

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Andrew Heaney delivers for Angels in 3-1 victory over A’s

  • Los Angeles Angels second baseman Kaleb Cowart makes a diving catch on a gourd ball hit by Oakland Athletics’ Matt Chapman during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. Chapman was thrown out at first on the play. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Angels second baseman Kaleb Cowart makes a diving catch on a gourd ball hit by Oakland Athletics’ Matt Chapman during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. Chapman was thrown out at first on the play. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ C.J. Cron, right, is tagged out by Oakland Athletics catcher Dustin Garneau after being caught between third and home on a fielder’s choice hit by Cameron Maybin during the second inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Angels’ C.J. Cron, right, is tagged out by Oakland Athletics catcher Dustin Garneau after being caught between third and home on a fielder’s choice hit by Cameron Maybin during the second inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Daniel Gossett throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Daniel Gossett throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Oakland Athletics’ Dustin Garneau, center, is congratulated by Marcus Semien, left, after hitting a solo home run as Los Angeles Angels catcher Martin Maldonado kneels at the plate during the third inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Oakland Athletics’ Dustin Garneau, center, is congratulated by Marcus Semien, left, after hitting a solo home run as Los Angeles Angels catcher Martin Maldonado kneels at the plate during the third inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Martin Maldonado, left, is congratulated by Ben Revere after scoring on a double by Kaleb Cowart during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Martin Maldonado, left, is congratulated by Ben Revere after scoring on a double by Kaleb Cowart during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Oakland Athletics left fielder Khris Davis can’t get to a ball hit for an RBI double by Los Angeles Angels’ Kaleb Cowart during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Oakland Athletics left fielder Khris Davis can’t get to a ball hit for an RBI double by Los Angeles Angels’ Kaleb Cowart during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Ben Revere, right, is tagged out by Oakland Athletics second baseman Chad Pinder as he tries to steal second during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Ben Revere, right, is tagged out by Oakland Athletics second baseman Chad Pinder as he tries to steal second during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Blake Parker throws to the plate during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Blake Parker throws to the plate during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Blake Parker celebrates after the Angels defeated the Oakland Athletics 3-1 in a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Blake Parker celebrates after the Angels defeated the Oakland Athletics 3-1 in a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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ANAHEIM — Andrew Heaney’s brilliant performance in the Angels’ 3-1 victory over the Oakland A’s on Monday night could be summed up in two pitches, one at the beginning of his night and one at the end.

With command of his breaking ball, which he demonstrated on the game’s first pitch, and the confidence in his health to unleash a 96 mph fastball in his final inning, Heaney announced that he is back.

He gave up one run in six innings, striking out a career-high 10, a performance that has to give the Angels and their fans some hope that their tattered rotation may get a huge boost down the stretch.

Monday’s box score | Updated MLB wild card standings

“This is what Andrew can do,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “It’s good for us to see it.”

Heaney admitted to “a relief of pressure” after he finally performed the way he had no doubt been pitching in his mind in the 16-plus months he’d been out of the majors. He battled back from Tommy John surgery in 13½ months, returning to pitch two unsatisfying games. He’d allowed nine runs, on seven homers, in 10 innings.

“When you don’t get the results or the process isn’t right, you’re just ‘Come on! Come on!’,” Heaney said. “You know it’s there. To have a night like tonight definitely feels good to get things rolling a little bit.”

Heaney’s primary issue during those first two starts was a lack of a dependable breaking ball. Heaney has called it a slider and a curveball, at times. Either way, he didn’t have it in first two starts, so he abandoned it early in both games. Left with just a fastball and a changeup, he felt “painted into a corner.”

So in the four days since his last start, Heaney said he “went back to the drawing board” to rediscover the breaking ball. His first pitch of the game was a good one, a sign of things to come. He dropped that one in for a called strike, and later he would get hitters swinging at other breaking balls in the dirt for three strikeouts.

“I felt like I was out there working with six or seven things I could do,” Heaney said, “and some of the swings they took let me know they were also thinking the same way.”

SWING & A MISS! @Heandog8 throwing the heat! @Angels pic.twitter.com/CYp4whqbjb

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) August 29, 2017

Heaney struck out the side in the first. He got out of a jam in the second, gave up a solo homer on a misplaced fastball to Dustin Garneau in the third, and then blew through the A’s until a hiccup in the fifth. After two straight walks put him in another tight spot, he struck out Chad Pinder to strand the runners. In the sixth, he whiffed Jed Lowrie, Khris Davis and Ryon Healy, the A’s 3-4-5 hitters.

One of the pitches to Healy was a 96 mph fastball, above Heaney’s normal range of 92-94.

“I tried to throw that thing a thousand,” Heaney said. “I almost fell over trying to throw it.”

That he threw a pitch so hard is not as important as the fact that he felt well enough to try. This is, after all, a pitcher who had just rehabbed from Tommy John surgery, a long process in which every throw is carefully measured, every ache and twinge recorded.

“It’s just the confidence to go out and say, ‘I’m healthy,’” Heaney said. “I’m not in the ‘Oh, how did that feel?’ mode.”

After Heaney’s 94 pitches, he was done for the night, turning the game and a 2-1 lead over to the Angels’ bullpen. Keynan Middleton, Yusmeiro Petit and Blake Parker made it hold up, with Parker striking out the side around a walk in the ninth.

Along with the offensive contributions of Martin Maldonado (three hits) and run-scoring hits by Kole Calhoun and Kaleb Cowart, the Angels were able to secure Heaney’s first victory since Sept. 8, 2015.

“This is in line with what his talent says he can do,” Scioscia said. “Tonight he did a great job of keeping those guys off balance.”

You can blame the @Heandog8 for the heat out at the Big A tonight because he was on 🔥 – career-high 10 Ks. @Angels pic.twitter.com/hW3AcSxYwR

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) August 29, 2017

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Whicker: Long night’s journey ends well for Angels’ Kaleb Cowart

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Kaleb Cowart watches his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Kaleb Cowart watches his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart rounds the bases after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart rounds the bases after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Fans watch as a home run by the Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart leaves the park during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Fans watch as a home run by the Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart leaves the park during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Angels’ Martin Maldonado and C.J. Cron greet Kaleb Cowart at home after Cowart’s three-run home run during the fifth inning of their 10-1 rout of the Texas Rangers on Tuesday at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Angels’ Martin Maldonado and C.J. Cron greet Kaleb Cowart at home after Cowart’s three-run home run during the fifth inning of their 10-1 rout of the Texas Rangers on Tuesday at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Kaleb Cowart, right, celebrates his three-run home run with Martin Maldonado during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Kaleb Cowart, right, celebrates his three-run home run with Martin Maldonado during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart is congratulated after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart is congratulated after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart is congratulated in the dugout after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart is congratulated in the dugout after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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ANAHEIM — It took 238 minutes and 352 pitches to finish this little slice of heaven that became a 10-1 win by the Angels on Tuesday night.

Most people who were here at the beginning exercised their freedom of movement and left. Kaleb Cowart couldn’t. He is accustomed to vigil.

At 25, Cowart is getting his first sustained big-league innings and is doing so in the thick of a quasi-pennant race. He also is doing it at second base, which is not what he envisioned when he was tearing it up as a pitcher/third baseman at his Georgia high school.

“I would have laughed if you had told me that,” Cowart said.

In this one, Cowart lofted a three-run homer that gave the Angels a 6-1 lead over Texas. Then Albert Pujols followed with his 610th home run, which put him No. 8 on the all-time list and broke a tie with Sammy Sosa, who was previously the all-time foreign-born home run hitter.

HOLY COWART! 3-run big fly from @KalebCowart! @Angels pic.twitter.com/VoTwaqo2ug

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) August 23, 2017

The Angels took it home from there, although home had already beckoned most of the crowd of 37,033. Since Minnesota beat the White Sox, the Angels remained a half-game out of the second American League wild card spot, but seven games remain on this homestand.

They wound up with 16 hits and 13 men left on base, both season highs. But the big hits from Cowart and Pujols had not been commonplace.

Cowart was 2 for 19 on the Angels’ previous trip and was 0 for 14 when he homered in Baltimore on Friday.

Pujols’ homer was his third of the month, and his OPS (.651) had dropped 35 points in August.

“Every time he does something it seems like it’s a record,” Cowart said. “It’s a thrill being able to hit a home run in the same game he does.”

The historical interlude helped the remaining fans forget that they spent a long time watching nothing. Texas starter Tyson Ross had required 80 pitches to get through three innings. Angels starter Ricky Nolasco needed 68. And the Angels left five men on base in the first two innings.

Cowart was the 18th pick in the 2010 draft, the final one that legendary scouting director Eddie Bane was permitted to conduct in Anaheim. It wasn’t that lush a draft. Six of the players picked ahead of Cowart never made the big leagues.

For a while it seemed Cowart might not either. In 2013 and 2014 he hit .224 and .221 at Double-A Arkansas. That earned him a spot at High-A Inland Empire in 2015. By then the Angels had moved him to second, after briefly entertaining the idea of putting him on the mound.

“The footwork was different, there was a lot of stuff to get used to,” Cowart said. “My Triple-A manager, Keith Johnson, gave me a lot of help with it once I got to Salt Lake.

“I think going through all of that has made me a better person, not just a better player. Sometimes you have to go through some failure, to figure things out. Lately I’ve just been trying to get better pitches, improve pitch selection. You can’t be fouling off the pitch that you’re supposed to hit. Not up here.”

Cowart is still hitting .275 despite his downturn. Obviously, he would provide a talent boost from the minor leagues that the Angels have rarely seen in the post-Bane years.

Otherwise, this was probably not the first baseball game you wanted your kid to see, unless his attention span rivals that of an astronomer.

The long stretches of nothingness would have been tough to salvage even if the players had put nicknames on their backs,  which is the marketing breakthrough that Major League Baseball is giving us in this weekend’s games.

The issue is not whether young people like baseball. The issue is that by the time games like this are over, they’re not young people anymore.

But not everyone will forget this one. Nick Gardewine, from Effingham, Ill., and Kaskaskia College, made his Rangers debut and was the pitcher who gave up Pujols’ milestone home run.

He was a fan of Pujols as he grew up, as were most up-and-coming players in the Midwest.

Sometimes Pujols can still teach the younger generation a thing or two, even if it’s past his bedtime.

The confidence and bats of @KalebCowart and the @Angels were HUGE tonight! @Alex_Curry pic.twitter.com/NPcN1q97Hk

— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) August 23, 2017

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Albert Pujols slugs his way past Sammy Sosa with home run in Angels’ 10-1 win

  • The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun hits a double off the wall for two RBI’s against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun hits a double off the wall for two RBI’s against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart is congratulated in the dugout after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart is congratulated in the dugout after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart is congratulated after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart is congratulated after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Martin Maldonado and C.J. Cron greet Kaleb Cowart at home after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Martin Maldonado and C.J. Cron greet Kaleb Cowart at home after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart rounds the bases after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart rounds the bases after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Fans watch as a home run by the Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart leaves the park during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Fans watch as a home run by the Los Angeles Angels Kaleb Cowart leaves the park during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels C.J. Cron dives back to third base against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels C.J. Cron dives back to third base against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Keynan Middleton throws to the plate against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Keynan Middleton throws to the plate against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels’ Ricky Nolasco is taken out of the game by manager Mike Scioscia during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels’ Ricky Nolasco is taken out of the game by manager Mike Scioscia during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun celebrates his two-RBI double off the wall against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun celebrates his two-RBI double off the wall against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Fans watch as a double by the Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun bounces off the wall for two RBI’s against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Fans watch as a double by the Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun bounces off the wall for two RBI’s against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Texas Rangers’ Robinson Chirinos snags a pop up by the Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Texas Rangers’ Robinson Chirinos snags a pop up by the Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols pops out as the Texas Rangers’ Robinson Chirinos looks for the ball during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols pops out as the Texas Rangers’ Robinson Chirinos looks for the ball during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Bene Revere rolls over after fouling a ball off of his leg against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Bene Revere rolls over after fouling a ball off of his leg against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Texas Rangers’ Rougned Odor can’t reach this single by the Los Angeles Angels’ Kaleb Cowart during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Texas Rangers’ Rougned Odor can’t reach this single by the Los Angeles Angels’ Kaleb Cowart during the fourth inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout and Kaleb Cowart share a laugh between innings at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout and Kaleb Cowart share a laugh between innings at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Parker Bridwell sits in the dugout against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Parker Bridwell sits in the dugout against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Luis Valbuena heads for second behind the Texas Rangers’ Elvis Andrus at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Luis Valbuena heads for second behind the Texas Rangers’ Elvis Andrus at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols runs to third against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols runs to third against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols jumps back to second as the Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre leaps for the throw during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols jumps back to second as the Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre leaps for the throw during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout celebrates in the dugout with teammates after scoring on an Albert Pujols double during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout celebrates in the dugout with teammates after scoring on an Albert Pujols double during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout scores past Texas Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos on an Albert Pujols RBI double during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout scores past Texas Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos on an Albert Pujols RBI double during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols hits a RBI double against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols hits a RBI double against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout points to the dugout after a first inning single against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout points to the dugout after a first inning single against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Texas Rangers’ Tyson Ross throws to the plate against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Texas Rangers’ Tyson Ross throws to the plate against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Ricky Nolasco walks to the dugout after the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Ricky Nolasco walks to the dugout after the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Ricky Nolasco reacts after walking the Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Ricky Nolasco reacts after walking the Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Fans react to a foul ball in the upper deck during the Los Angeles Angels game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Fans react to a foul ball in the upper deck during the Los Angeles Angels game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Andrelton Simmons waits between pitches during their game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Andrelton Simmons waits between pitches during their game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Ricky Nolasco throws to the plate against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Ricky Nolasco throws to the plate against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels’ Ricky Nolasco is taken out of the game by manager Mike Scioscia during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels’ Ricky Nolasco is taken out of the game by manager Mike Scioscia during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Fans look for Kaleb Cowart’s autograph before the Los Angeles Angels game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Fans look for Kaleb Cowart’s autograph before the Los Angeles Angels game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A fan carries four Mike Trout bobbleheads away from the stadium before the Los Angeles Angels game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A fan carries four Mike Trout bobbleheads away from the stadium before the Los Angeles Angels game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A Mike Trout bobblehead sits on the rail before the Los Angeles Angels game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    A Mike Trout bobblehead sits on the rail before the Los Angeles Angels game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Kole Calhoun watches his two-run double against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Kole Calhoun watches his two-run double against the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Kaleb Cowart watches his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Kaleb Cowart watches his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Kaleb Cowart, right, celebrates his three-run home run with Martin Maldonado during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Kaleb Cowart, right, celebrates his three-run home run with Martin Maldonado during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols celebrates in the dugout after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols celebrates in the dugout after his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels Manager Mike Scioscia talks with home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom during the sixth inning of their game the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Los Angeles Angels Manager Mike Scioscia talks with home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom during the sixth inning of their game the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Texas Rangers Nick Gardewine makes his MLB debut in the seventh inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Texas Rangers Nick Gardewine makes his MLB debut in the seventh inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Parker Bridwell watches from the dugout against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Parker Bridwell watches from the dugout against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols rounds the bases past Texas Rangers first baseman Mike Napoli after his three-run home run during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols rounds the bases past Texas Rangers first baseman Mike Napoli after his three-run home run during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Texas Rangers Nick Gardewine makes his MLB debut, giving up three unearned runs in the seventh inning, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    The Texas Rangers Nick Gardewine makes his MLB debut, giving up three unearned runs in the seventh inning, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols (5) celebrates his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols (5) celebrates his three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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ANAHEIM — On Sept. 26, 2007, Sammy Sosa hit his 609th career home run against the Angels on a hot and cloudy day in Arlington, Texas. Sosa played his final major league game three days later and retired with more home runs than any foreign-born player in history.

That record was surpassed at 10:28 p.m. Tuesday, in the eighth inning of an interminable game between – coincidentally – the Angels and Texas Rangers.

Albert Pujols’ 610th career home run moved him past Sosa into eighth place on MLB’s all-time list, surpassing his countryman. Pujols was born in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo; Sosa was born an hour east in the coastal city of San Pedro de Macoris. Pujols came to the United States as a teenager while Sosa was establishing himself as one of history’s great sluggers.

With No. 610, @PujolsFive is now 8th all-time in homers and has the most ever among foreign-born players. pic.twitter.com/K4Ih6sq8cm

— MLB (@MLB) August 23, 2017

Now 37, Pujols is still climbing a home-run list that holds only seven Americans in sight. Jim Thome is the next man on that list with 612.

Sosa hit his 609th home run in a 16-2 Texas win. Pujols’ homer, a three-run moonshot to left-center field, was the final dagger in a 10-1 Angels victory. The Rangers’ first baseman Tuesday, Mike Napoli, was the Angels’ catcher on that cloudy day in Arlington 10 years ago.

Unfortunately for the announced crowd of 37,033 at Angel Stadium, the game’s sloth-like pace led many to the exits before Pujols faced Rangers pitcher Nick Gardewine, a 24-year-old right-hander making his major league debut. The first inning featured 59 pitches and lasted 33 minutes by itself.

The Angels and Rangers needed two hours to complete four innings. The game’s 200th pitch was thrown in the fifth. Twenty-three minutes later, the fifth inning still wasn’t over, but at least the Angels had supplied some fireworks.

Kaleb Cowart hit a three-run home run against Rangers pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx to turn a 3-1 lead into a 6-1 landslide. The Angels didn’t let up, setting a season high with 16 hits before it was over.

Kole Calhoun went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles. Pujols, Cowart, Mike Trout and Martin Maldonado had two hits apiece.

Angels starter Ricky Nolasco didn’t factor into the decision. He left with a 3-1 lead after throwing 101 pitches in 4⅔ innings. The first pitcher out of the bullpen, Keynan Middleton (5-1) threw 1⅓ innings of scoreless relief.

The Angels never trailed. Trout singled in the first inning and scored on a double by Pujols that hit high off the right field wall, 10 feet shy of a homer. A two-run double by Calhoun increased the Angels’ lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning.

The only run against Nolasco’s ledger came on a sacrifice fly by Elvis Andrus that scored Delino DeShields in the fifth inning. Even that run was far from assured; Trout took an extra step or two before releasing the ball. Had he not hesitated, DeShields might have been out.

With the Rangers on the board in the fifth inning, C.J. Cron doubled and Martin singled before Cowart knocked out Bibens-Dirkx with his home run.

Calhoun also doubled in the sixth inning and scored on a Luis Valbuena single.

Rangers starter Tyson Ross (3-3) headed for the showers even earlier than Nolasco. The right-hander allowed seven runs and walked four batters in 3⅔ innings. He was charged with three runs, all earned.

The game lasted 3 hours and 58 minutes, but it allowed the Angels (65-51) to keep pace with the Minnesota Twins (65-60) in the American League wild-card race. Eight teams are separated by six games in the battle for the AL’s final playoff berth.

More to come on this story.

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