Hunter lifts Angels with 11th-inning walk-off

Hunter lifts Angels with 11th-inning walk-off

ANAHEIM -- The last game at Angel Stadium this season came with a storybook ending, even if the season won't.

Torii Hunter, All-Star and face of the franchise, delivered a two-out walk-off single off Oakland's Brad Ziegler in the 11th inning Wednesday to lift the Angels to a 2-1 win in their last home contest of 2010. It was the Halos' 10th walk-off this season.

"The fans that showed up today and saw this extra-inning game, got more than their money's worth," Hunter said. "We came through in the end and the fans got excited at the end, and they're going to remember this. We ended on a great note at home, and that's a great thing."

Jeff Mathis started the one-out rally with a single to center. Peter Bourjos lined out in front of Howard Kendrick, who singled to bring up Hunter. He took a 1-0 pitch on the inside half right back up the middle.

"It's frustrating," said Ziegler, who pitched the 10th and 11th. "We had a lot of chances to score some runs, so you have to give their pitchers credit. We saved up a lot of chances for them. I tried to give us a chance, but I just finally let Hunter get one on me."

Through 10 innings, the Angels were just as unhappy. They left 12 men on base and were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Twice, in the ninth and 10th, they loaded the bases but could push no one across.

"It was really a frustrating afternoon up until Torii got that hit," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Obviously we had chances to win the game."

Heading to Texas for their final four games of the season, the Angels (78-80) have something to defend: second place. They entered the series trailing the A's (77-81) by two games and overtook them with a three-game sweep.

Still, what matters most now for the Halos is next season, and it was the young arms who got it done after Joel Pineiro yielded one run in seven innings.

Michael Kohn, 24, struck out two and let up one hit in his inning of work. Kevin Jepsen, 26, struck out one in a perfect ninth. And Bobby Cassevah, 25, went two innings and let up just one hit for his first Major League win.

"I thought our guys on the mound did a terrific job of keeping us where we needed to be, made some good pitches," Scioscia said. "Our young guys came in and really pitched well."

A peek out to right field was something new, too: Mark Trumbo, who made his first Major League start there. Trumbo made an error in the fifth, the only frame in which the A's scored.

The youth paid its dues after the game, and continued to on the night's flight to Texas. Leaving the clubhouse, the younger players were forced to wear some less-than-choice clothing: Trumbo wore a yellow tutu, and Peter Bourjos wore a full-body blue and feline-like costume, complete with tail. Francisco Rodriguez couldn't even fit into the black spandex outfit he was given.

For Pineiro, who wore what he pleased, it was his final start of the season and his 14th in a row of six innings or more. He struck out three and walked two -- the only walks he allowed in 21 innings since returning from the disabled list -- showing again that his strained oblique is in the rearview mirror.

Bad luck, though, may be a different story. He let up four earned runs in his past three starts, and took a no-decision each time.

"It's nice to go out on a good note," Pineiro said. "I didn't feel anything from the first start I had coming off the DL to today."

Southpaw Bobby Cramer was just as effective for Oakland in 6 2/3 innings, letting up three hits, two walks and one run. The 30-year-old rookie was born in Anaheim and went to Long Beach State.

For Hunter, his next job after the season is to play recruiter, making a few calls to bring in some free-agent help. He said he won't begin that effort though until after the World Series. He didn't say who, what or when, either.

"You never know what I'm going to do," Hunter said. "I just show up."

Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.