ANAHEIM, Calif. — Andrelton Simmons could see clearly from third base that reliever Luis Garcia’s eighth-inning pitch was sailing high, and then higher still.
“It froze me for a second the way it came out of the pitcher’s hand,” Simmons said, “I thought, OK, it’s over (catcher Cameron Rupp’s) head, I’ve got to go. Then you see how quick the catcher kind of got to it.”
The pitch sailed so high and wide, it went all the way to the backstop and bounced off, enabling Rupp to quickly make a throw to the plate. But it was too late to prevent Simmons from scoring the go-ahead run in the Los Angeles Angels’ 5-4 comeback victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night.
The wild pitch completed a two-run rally that helped the Angels sweep the three-game series. They have won their last 12 games against the Phillies.
“That was hard to take,” Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin said.
The Angels took an early lead in the first on Mike Trout’s two-run homer off Jerad Eickhoff, but the Phillies responded with a four-run second inning against Parker Bridwell on a two-run homer from Nick Williams and a two-run single by Freddy Galvis.
Los Angeles pulled within a run in the fourth when Kaleb Cowart doubled, went to third on a flyout and scored on Ramon Flores’ sacrifice fly.
It was still a 4-3 game when Luis Valbuena opened the bottom of the eighth with an 11-pitch walk on an unusually hot and humid Southern California night.
“That leadoff walk kills you,” Mackanin said. “But you have to give Valbuena credit. An 11-pitch at-bat and he just kept battling and battling and battling. And he won the battle.”
Simmons followed with a double that sent pinch-runner Cliff Pennington to third. Pennington scored when C.J. Cron’s hard bouncer went off the glove of Garcia (1-2). Second baseman Cesar Hernandez’s only play was to first as the tying run scored.
“The comebacker, I thought he could have caught that ball,” Mackanin said.
Garcia’s wild pitch allowed Simmons to score the tiebreaking run. Bud Norris pitched a scoreless ninth for his 17th save, and the Angels had their fourth series sweep of the season.
Yusmeiro Petit (3-0) threw two scoreless innings in relief to earn the win.
The right-hander had enjoyed mostly an easy time of it (5-1, 2.83 ERA) since joining the Angels’ rotation, but encountered nothing but trouble in Philadelphia’s four-run second inning.
“I didn’t have command like I normally do,” Bridwell said. “I didn’t get ahead of hitters and kind of had to battle. I kept my team in the game, and obviously the team we have here isn’t afraid to come back and win a game.”
The Phillies’ right-hander not only gave up the home run to Trout in the first, he walked four in the first two innings. But after that, Eickhoff didn’t walk another batter. He allowed only three hits in six innings.
“He wasn’t pitching well, spraying the ball all over the place (early),” Mackanin said. “But boy, did he settle down and do a heck of a job after that and kept us in the game.”
Phillies: C Andrew Knapp left in the bottom of the second with a bruise after taking a foul ball off the top of his right hand. … OFs Aaron Altherr (sore hamstring) and Williams (sick) both returned to the lineup after sitting out the first two games of the series.
Angels: OF Cameron Maybin (strained right knee) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Friday at Triple-A Salt Lake. … OF Kole Calhoun, who hasn’t played since Sunday because of a sore hamstring, is expected to start Friday. He entered as a pinch hitter Thursday. … 3B Yunel Escobar (sore lower back) was held out for a second consecutive game as a precaution. … RHP Garrett Richards, out since April 7 with a biceps injury, has been cleared to start throwing off a mound.
Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (2-6) opens a three-game series at Colorado on Friday. Velasquez is coming off his best start of the season after holding the Braves scoreless for six innings on Sunday.
Angels: RHP Troy Scribner is scheduled to make his first career start Friday at home in the opener of a three-game series against Oakland. The 26-year-old Scribner has appeared in two games in relief, allowing two earned runs in four innings.
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