ANAHEIM -- Russell Branyan has had his fair share of home runs in his career -- 191 to be exact. His latest, a go-ahead two-run shot in Sunday's 3-1 Angels win against the Dodgers, came a late later than both he and the Halos hoped it would.
The left-handed slugger entered the game hitting only .194 on the season, and was homerless with just two RBIs in 19 games with the Angels, his 11th Major League team. It was those struggles that made Branyan's game-winning shot all the more rewarding. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder joked he was in disbelief as he watched the ball sail into Angel Stadium's right-center-field seats, helping the Angels win only their fourth game of the season in which they trailed after six innings.
"It's something where I want to come through. I want to produce," he said. "I haven't been swinging the bat the way I'd like to be, but to hit the go-ahead homer feels really good."
Branyan started the season with Arizona, where he hit .210 in 31 games, but was released in late May. The then-Vernon Wells-less Angels, in the midst of their biggest power outage of the season, snatched Branyan up less than a week later.
Initially, Branyan wasn't sure what kind of playing time to expect. Now he said he believes he's settled into a role where he gets about a start a week and can come in as a pinch-hitter to try to help give the Halos some more pop.
Branyan has now homered for 10 teams in his career, one club shy of the Major League record held by Matt Stairs.
"We're all human beings you know. ... Each and every one of us, we're competitors," Branyan said. "We want to get in there. We want to be the one's up there when the game's on the line. We want to come through to help us win. It just feels good to be in that situation and come through."