ANAHEIM, Calif. — Andrelton Simmons stared at his eighth-inning shot headed for left field and had no idea if the drive off Houston Astros reliever Tyler Clippard would clear the fence.
“I knew it was an out or a homer,” Simmons said.
The ball eventually went over a leaping Josh Reddick, giving Simmons a three-run shot that capped a late comeback and sent the Los Angeles Angels to a 7-6 victory Saturday night.
Los Angeles trailed 6-1 in the seventh before rallying to snap a three-game skid. The Angels and Seattle Mariners are a half-game behind Minnesota in a packed race for the second AL wild card.
Kole Calhoun singled home Mike Trout with two outs in the eighth to make it 6-4. Simmons then slipped and finished his swing on one knee but still drove Clippard’s slider over the left-field fence, sending Angel Stadium fans into a frenzy amid fireworks over center field.
“This team never quits,” Calhoun said. “We needed a big swing of the bat and we got it.”
Trout worked a two-out walk and went to third on a single by Albert Pujols against Francis Martes. Clippard (2-8) gave up Calhoun’s single before Simmons connected on the next pitch.
“It was just a good pitch to hit. Just a pitch up in the zone. It kind of went down a little more than I thought, but I saw it pretty decent,” Simmons said. “I was fortunate to not miss it.”
Blake Wood (2-4) worked a hitless inning and Blake Parker got three outs for his second save.
“Definitely a huge win,” Calhoun said.
Before the eighth, the Astros appeared to be cruising.
Jake Marisnick and George Springer homered to back Brad Peacock’s six strong innings as the AL West leaders raced out to a five-run lead.
Marisnick’s home run, a golf shot in the fourth that made the score 5-1, came off starter Tyler Skaggs. Springer’s drive came in the seventh off reliever Bud Norris and made it 6-1. Meanwhile, Peacock struck out eight.
Calhoun hit a solo homer in the second. Los Angeles scraped across two runs in the seventh to make it 6-3.
Skaggs got himself into trouble in the second when he allowed a single to Brian McCann and a double to Marisnick.
McCann scored on Skaggs’ balk and then Marisnick scored on an error by third baseman Luis Valbuena. By the end of the inning, Houston led 4-0.
Josh Reddick hit a two-run single in the first for the Astros.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said the plan was for Houston to leave Anaheim on Sunday but he wasn’t sure where the team would go with Hurricane Harvey hitting the Texas coast.
“Monday being off gives us the leeway to really do the best and safest route,” he said. “As far as Tuesday goes, from all I know everything is OK, but I know the brunt of the storm is supposed to maybe hit over the next couple of days.”
Before the game, the Angels inducted Vladimir Guerrero into their Hall of Fame. Guerrero won the 2004 AL MVP award with the Angels and played 846 games with the franchise from 2004-09. “I’m very happy. It’s a great honor for me,” he said.
Astros: Hinch said Carlos Correa (thumb) was expected to play shortstop Saturday for Triple-A Fresno. The plan is for Correa to be the DH on Sunday for Fresno. The star slugger has been out since July 17. … RHP Will Harris (shoulder) returned to the team but was not activated. Harris allowed two runs and two hits in one inning Friday for Fresno. … RHP Lance McCullers (back discomfort) will need another rehab outing, according to Hinch. McCullers allowed three runs in three innings Friday for Fresno.
Angels: Manager Mike Scioscia said RHP Garrett Richards is expected to throw Wednesday for Triple-A Salt Lake. Richards has pitched in only one major league game all season because of a biceps strain. … Scioscia said the team was looking at “early next week” to determine a rehab assignment for 3B Yunel Escobar (oblique).
Astros: RHP Charlie Morton (10-6, 3.81 ERA) will look to rebound from his last start, a 10-6 loss to Washington. He is 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in his career against the Angels.
Angels: RHP Ricky Nolasco (6-12, 5.05) is scheduled to start Sunday. He is 7-2 with a 3.63 ERA against the Astros, including 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts this season.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball