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Conger's pinch-hit HR lifts Angels over Brewers in ninth

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The Canadian Press
8/31/2013 11:08:06 PM
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MILWAUKEE -- Hank Conger wouldn't quite admit to thinking about a pinch-hit home run, though he came pretty close. Either way, he certainly delivered.

Conger came through with a two-run homer in the ninth inning off closer Jim Henderson that sent the Los Angeles Angels to a 6-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night.

"He looked pretty nasty up there. He was throwing pretty hard," said Conger, who hit the first pinch-hit homer of his career. "I was just trying to swing as hard as I can."

Milwaukee had been 50-0 this season when leading after eight innings, the only team in the majors without a loss.

"I felt good with my fastball tonight. It was lively. I throw a lot of fastballs," said Henderson, who had posted a save in each of his previous 12 appearances. "Conger, credit him. He was just timing it up there, saw three of them and timed up the third one. It was a little bit too middle, for sure."

Henderson (3-4) retired his first two batters in the ninth before pinch-hitter Josh Hamilton doubled off the glove of sliding right fielder Caleb Gindle. Conger followed with his seventh home run, driving a 2-1 delivery to right.

"You couldn't have scripted it any better," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Josh came off the bench and he's going against a real good closer. Henderson has terrific stuff. A good at-bat by Josh, stretched it into a double, and Hank just waited for his pitch."

Dane Da La Rosa (6-1) pitched a perfect eighth for the win. Ernesto Frieri worked the ninth for his 29th save in 33 chances.

"We kept playing baseball," Scioscia said. "We got some breaks on the offensive side, a couple balls to fall in, and then there was some big hits at the end."

Jonathan Lucroy drove in four runs and scored another for the Brewers. He doubled in two runs in the first and singled home two more in the seventh to give Milwaukee a 5-4 lead.

"Guys on base ... he's tough. He stays inside the ball, he stays on off-speed stuff," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "They try to come in on him and he can still get to it. He's a tough guy to get out."

With the Brewers trailing 4-3, pinch-hitter Norichika Aoki greeted Buddy Boshers, who relieved to start the seventh, with a single off the glove of second baseman Grant Green. With one out, Scooter Gennett was hit by a pitch. Michael Kohn relieved and Jean Segura reached on a single off the glove of shortstop Erick Aybar to load the bases. Lucroy followed with a two-run single to right.

The Angels scored three runs on five singles in the third to erase a 2-0 deficit. J.B. Shuck singled and moved to third on a single by Aybar. Mike Trout squibbed an infield single to the right side, scoring Shuck. Kole Calhoun followed with an RBI single to right, scoring Aybar from second and sending Trout to third. Luis Jimenez's one-out single scored Trout to make it 3-2.

The Brewers tied it 3-all in the bottom half when Lucroy singled with two outs, stole second and Aramis Ramirez followed with a double down the right-field line. Chris Iannetta opened the fourth inning with his seventh home run, hammering a 1-0 pitch to left-centre to put the Angels on top 4-3.

Lucroy's two-run double put the Brewers up 2-0 in the first. Gennett and Segura opened with consecutive singles and Lucroy followed with an opposite-field drive into the right-field corner.

"It was a hard game to lose. We played well, battled back and got the lead," Roenicke said. "Henderson has been great all year. We know he's not going to be perfect and there's going to be a time he gives up some runs. It's unfortunate when we battle back like that. It's just hard to lose those games."

NOTES: Hamilton missed Friday night's game with what was said to be a sore shoulder, but he said after Saturday's game that he actually had a migraine. He left the ballpark in the second inning Friday night and went back to the hotel to get some rest. "I still feel a little bit drained and a little bit off," Hamilton said. ... The Angels' back-to-back shutouts of Tampa Bay on Thursday and Milwaukee on Friday were their first consecutive road shutouts since May 12-13, 1999, against the Yankees. ... The Angels have won seven straight against the Brewers in Milwaukee, dating to 1997.

Hank Conger (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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