Ohtani and Simmons deliver in ninth as Angels come back for win over Jays

Angels 5 Blue Jays 4

TORONTO — Andrelton Simmons hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the ninth inning to help the Los Angeles Angels to a 5-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

Shohei Ohtani tied the game earlier in the frame with a two-run single off Toronto reliever Tyler Clippard, who was charged with four earned runs over one-third of an inning.

Justin Anderson (1-1) pitched the eighth inning for the win and Blake Parker survived a shaky ninth for his third save.

Pinch-hitter Kendrys Morales drove in Dwight Smith Jr., in the ninth to make it a one-run game as Curtis Granderson moved to third. Teoscar Hernandez hit a fly to right field but Kole Calhoun threw Granderson out at the plate for the second out.

Morales moved to second on the play and Josh Donaldson was intentionally walked to get to Justin Smoak, who struck out to end it.

Devon Travis and Yangervis Solarte hit solo homers for the Blue Jays (23-26), who got five shutout innings from starter Aaron Sanchez.

Four relievers held the Angels (27-22) to a run to set things up for Clippard, who issued walks to Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Albert Pujols before Ohtani stroked a single to the sound of groans from the crowd of 25,504 at Rogers Centre.

Toronto has dropped five of its last six games. The teams will play the rubber game of the three-game series on Thursday afternoon.

Travis, a recent call-up from triple-A Buffalo, homered on a 2-0 pitch from Angels starter Tyler Skaggs in the third inning for Toronto’s first hit of the game. It was his second homer of the year.

The Angels threatened in the fourth but couldn’t push a run across.

Centre-fielder Kevin Pillar denied Simmons an extra-base hit with a nice jumping catch against the wall. Ohtani, aboard after a walk, had rounded second and was forced to scramble back to first base.

The Angels would load the bases in the inning after shortstop Gio Urshela booted a Martin Maldonado grounder. Calhoun followed with a rainbow drive that died near the warning track for the third out.

In the bottom half, Solarte turned on a 1-2 pitch for his 11th homer of the season.

Sanchez entered play with 29 walks, the third-highest total among American League pitchers this season. He issued five free passes on the night but escaped damage, holding the Angels without a run on two hits.

Solarte added an RBI single in the fifth inning. His slow roller up the middle scored Donaldson from second base.

Blue Jays reliever John Axford came on in the sixth and lasted only three batters. He gave up three singles, the final one a flare inside the left-field foul line by Maldonado that scored Simmons.

Seunghwan Oh held the Angels to one hit for the rest of the frame. He was helped by some quality defence by Donaldson at third base.

Granderson tried to make a sliding catch on a sinking liner off Calhoun’s bat but the ball popped out. The veteran outfielder fired it to Donaldson, who squeezed it in time to get Zack Cozart with the tag.

Later in the inning, Granderson and Donaldson were at it again after Trout hit a sharp single to left. Granderson threw it in and Donaldson swung his arm around to get Calhoun with a no-look tag for the third out.

The game took three hours 45 minutes to play.

Notes: Simmons made a highlight-reel diving catch on a Donaldson liner to end the seventh inning. The Angels shortstop fully extended to his left and smacked his face on the artificial turf on the way down. He wasn’t hurt on the play and chuckled with his teammates about it on the jog back to the dugout. … Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio threw the ceremonial first pitch. … It was a breezy but comfortable 25 C at first pitch. … Right-handers will square off in the series finale as Toronto’s Marco Estrada (2-4, 5.15 ERA) takes on Nick Tropeano (1-3, 4.45).

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