Angels beat Mets 5-4 on hit batter in 11th inning
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By JOE RESNICK
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Hank Conger got his first RBI of the season the hard way. It was the ultimate in taking one for the team.
Conger was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the 11th inning after rookie Jeurys Familia intentionally walked the previous two batters, and the Los Angeles Angels got home runs from Mike Trout and J.B. Shuck in a 5-4 victory over the New York Mets on Friday night.
"With bases loaded, your job is to try to somehow get on base so you'll drive in the run. So I was just trying to get a pitch up because I knew a sac fly would do," said Conger, who entered on defense in the ninth after catcher Chris Iannetta was replaced by a pinch runner. "I just went up there trying to battle him."
Raul Ibanez led off the 11th with a single against Familia (0-2), who was working his third inning of relief. Ibanez advanced on a wild pitch and went to third on a grounder to shortstop by David Freese before Mets manager Terry Collins ordered Familia to walk Howie Kendrick and Shuck to set up a force at any base.
"That's part of the game, you know? Sometimes you have to do that - walk the guy and try to get a double play," Familia said. "So you just try to keep going, pound the zone and try to get groundballs."
The strategy backfired when Familia plunked Conger in the ribs with a 2-2 delivery on his 51st pitch. Conger recoiled to absorb the blow.
The run ended a string of 18 2-3 scoreless innings by Mets relievers after they allowed 13 earned runs in the team's first four games.
Kyle Farnsworth helped keep the streak going when he retired Albert Pujols on a grounder with the bases loaded to end the eighth. Pujols came up again in the 10th with two on and hit a bouncer back to Familia for the third out, leaving the three-time NL MVP with five RBIs in his first 41 at-bats.
Michael Kohn (1-0) pitched a perfect inning for the win.
Travis d'Arnaud homered for the Mets and Josh Satin hit a two-run double.
This is the Mets' third visit to Anaheim since interleague play began in 1997. Their previous series at the "Big A" was in June 2008, when manager Willie Randolph was fired in the middle of the night and replaced by Jerry Manuel.
New York's 4-2 lead evaporated in the sixth when Dillon Gee gave up a walk to Kendrick and a two-run homer by Shuck that landed in the lower seats in the right field corner.
It came in the first game of the season for Shuck, recalled from the minors Wednesday when right fielder Josh Hamilton went on the disabled list with a torn ligament in his left thumb. Hamilton, injured on a headfirst slide into first base Tuesday at Seattle, had surgery Friday morning and is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks.
"It says a lot about J.B. and a lot about the team," Conger said. "Obviously, it had to be kind of a shock for him to get sent down toward the end of spring training. The team knows there's big shoes to fill, as far as Hamilton goes. So he comes up here and plays with a chip on his shoulder, and tonight he did an awesome job."
Gee was charged with four runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings, the first time in 20 starts that he failed to get through the sixth. He walked the bases loaded in the fifth, but escaped when Satin fielded a grounder by Ibanez that hit first base and bounced high in the air.
"It's really frustrating. Today was just not a good outing all the way around," Gee said. "I didn't feel really good and I struggled with command, walking as many guys as I did. So I just tried to battle through it and grind it out. This was one of those days where I had trouble finding the release point I wanted."
The Mets, who traveled cross-country following Thursday night's 6-4 victory in Atlanta, didn't get to their hotel until 3 a.m. But they scored in three of the first four innings against lefty Tyler Skaggs.
"You want to put up zeros, but fortunately the team picked me up," said Skaggs, who went seven innings.
Curtis Granderson caught Shuck's flyball in the right field corner for the first out of the eighth, then did an immediate 360 toward the stands after a fan reached out and touched him on the back. Security guards escorted the fan out moments later.
NOTES: Collins piloted the Angels for two-plus seasons and resigned with 29 games left in the 1999 campaign. Mike Scioscia took over the following season. ... The Angels reinstated RHP Dane De La Rosa (strained forearm) from the disabled list and optioned LHP Nick Maronde to Triple-A Salt Lake.
Updated April 12, 2014