David Freese has had a bit of a tough season for the Los Angeles Angels, but he basically made up for it on Wednesday afternoon.
With the Houston Astros leading the Halos 4-3 in the eighth inning, Freese cracked a two-run, two-out double off reliever Pat Neshek. It gave the Angels a lead they wouldn't relinquish, as they held on for a big win that brought them closer to the Astros in the Wild Card chase.
After the game, Freese told MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez that he essentially feeds off crowd noise in that situation - even as the visiting player in a hostile environment such as Houston. "It's nice when you hear the crowd," Freese told Gonzalez. "It kind of reminds you to take a breath, relax."
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That's an odd sentiment to hear, given the intimidating atmosphere fans would ordinarily think they provide during important ballgames. Then again, Freese lifted the St. Louis Cardinals up off the deck in the 2011 World Series, reversing their fortunes with a heroic Game 6 performance that one would assume happened in part due to Freese's clarity of mind at the plate.
Gonzalez noted that since Freese returned from the disabled list on September 1, he's hitting .319 and the Angels have gone 13-8 to propel themselves back into the postseason race. Freese touched on the urgency of the team's situation in speaking with Gonzalez: "This is the time of year where you have to come through, especially this close to the race. Whoever wants to make the playoffs, if they're still fighting, you have to have big hits, you have to hit your spots when you're pitching and make plays. You just have to do things the right way to get into October."