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Angels beat the Blue Jays in 14 ugly innings

Problems on the basepaths, a big hitter coming up small and using their entire bullpen doesn't stop the Angels from taking a 6-5 victory over Toronto when Maicer Izturis drives in Peter Bourjos with a single after 5 hours and 3 minutes of play.

April 10, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels shortstop Maicer Izturis, right, is congratulated by teammate Brandon Wood after driving in the winning run against Toronto in the 14th inning Saturday night at Angel Stadium.
Angels shortstop Maicer Izturis, right, is congratulated by teammate… (Christine Cotter / Associated…)

The Angels won a game they had no business winning Saturday night, not with the way they ran into outs on the base paths and one of their supposed big hitters came up miniscule in the clutch.

But their much-maligned bullpen delivered 9 1/3 sometimes wobbly but scoreless innings, with starter Dan Haren coming on after the Angels exhausted their seven-man relief corps, and two of their little guys came through with huge hits in the end.

Peter Bourjos lined a two-out double to left field in the 14th inning, and Maicer Izturis stroked an 0-and-2 pitch from closer Jon Rauch into right for a single that scored the speedy Bourjos and gave the Angels a 6-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

That ended a 5 hour and 3 minute game that featured 16 pitchers, including nine of the 11 pitchers on the Angels staff, 18 runners left on base for the Blue Jays, who went three for 23 with runners in scoring position, and the potential winning run for Toronto nullified by a runner's interference call in the 13th inning.

Angels-Blue Jays box score

The Angels also ran into two key outs on the bases and failed to score after putting runners on second and third with no outs in the 11th inning and runners on first and third with no outs in the 13th.

"That was ugly, man, long and ugly," Angels right fielder Torii Hunter said. "It ended right, it was a win, but it was a crazy game."

Especially for Haren, who pitched in Tampa Bay on Wednesday and is scheduled to start Monday night against Cleveland.

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Manager Mike Scioscia said "the last thing any of us wanted to do was put Dan in at the end of this game," but the Angels really had no choice.

Rich Thompson, Kevin Jepsen, Hisanori Takahashi, Fernando Rodney, Jordan Walden, Michael Kohn and Jason Bulger combined for 8 1/3 scoreless innings, with Bulger closing he 12th by getting 2010 major league home run champion Jose Bautista to fly to center with the bases loaded.

Bulger kept the game going despite walking four, and the right-hander was gassed after throwing 55 pitches in 2 1/3 innings.

Fernando Rodney throws a strong inning, an encouraging sign to Mike Scioscia

So in came Haren for his first relief appearance since Oct. 3, 2004, when he was with the St. Louis Cardinals. The right-hander had made 203 consecutive starts since then, but he retired the side in order in the top of the 14th to gain the win Saturday night.

"What Haren did speaks volumes for what he's all about," Scioscia said. "He's all about the team. He was all for it."

Scioscia said Haren's next start might get pushed back a day, and there probably will be more roster moves Sunday to bolster the beleaguered bullpen. He will also consider giving Vernon Wells, who is batting .111 in his first eight games as an Angel, a day off.

Bobby Abreu reached on an error to open the 11th and took third on Hunter's hit-and-run single. Hunter took second on defensive indifference, and Wells struck out.

Pinch-hitter Hank Conger grounded into a fielder's choice, the Blue Jays getting the force at home, and Jeff Mathis struck out to end the inning.

Then things got really ugly in the 13th inning, which looked very promising for the Angels after Abreu opened with a single and took third on another hit-and-run single by Hunter.

Wells, with Hunter taking off from first, swung at reliever Shawn Camp's first pitch, sending a flare to left field, where Travis Snider made a nice sliding catch.

The ball was too shallow for Abreu to tag, and Hunter, who did not even make an attempt to return to first, was easily doubled off for the second out.

Alberto Callaspo was walked intentionally and took off for second while Camp was in the stretch. Camp stepped off the mound and threw to second baseman Aaron Hill, who caught Callaspo in a rundown.

Abreu broke for home, and Hill threw a strike to catcher J.P. Arencibia in time to nail Abreu and end the inning.

"We obviously had some glitches with our situational hitting and base-running, and we were fortunate to get a key hit from Izzy to win," Scioscia said. "The base-running was obviously not where we need it to be."

Scioscia said Hunter "could have easily" gotten back to first on Wells' fly ball to shallow left, but he was too aggressive and didn't make a proper read on the ball. Callaspo broke for second too soon.

"I can't explain what happened, but I haven't done that since I was a youngster," Hunter said. "I want to apologize."

The Angels caught a huge break on the basepaths in the top of the 13th, though.

Toronto had runners on second and third with two outs when Callaspo fielded Edwin Encarnacion's slow roller to third and threw wide of first base, pulling Brandon Wood off the bag, the Blue Jays apparently scoring a go-ahead run.

But umpire Bob Davidson ruled that Yuniel Escobar, who was on second to start the play, interfered with Callaspo as he was fielding the ball, nullifying the run and ending the inning.

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