Andrelton Simmons' grand slam overshadowed by great defense by Los Angeles Angels

By Bob Keisser, The Sports Xchange
Tyler Skaggs pitched seven strong innings and great defense helped the Angels to victory. Photo courtesy Los Angeles Angels via Twitter
Tyler Skaggs pitched seven strong innings and great defense helped the Angels to victory. Photo courtesy Los Angeles Angels via Twitter

ANAHEIM -- On an evening when shortstop Andrelton Simmons hit a grand slam and Tyler Skaggs had another impressive seven-inning outing, the conversation in the Los Angeles Angels locker room was all about defense.

The infield turned four double plays, including a sensational dive, scoop and shovel for two outs by Simmons in the ninth, and Kole Calhoun made a diving catch of a gapper in the eighth as the Angels hung on to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 at Angel Stadium.


The two defensive gems came after the Angels watched Toronto come back from a 5-1 deficit to cut the margin to one. It was one of the Angels' best all-around games of the season.

"It was a good night in a lot of ways," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``We hit the ball well all night, Tyler was great again and the defense kept us in the game.''


"I'm happiest with the win,'' Simmons said. ``A grand slam is pretty cool, double plays are always good and Skaggs was dealing all night."

"I knew I needed to catch the ball,'' he said about the dive. ``I knew I could get to it. I just needed to make sure I made a good feed (to second)."

Skaggs was coming off his best outing of the season, throwing seven innings and allowing no runs against Kansas City in a 1-0 loss. Saturday, he went seven-plus innings, allowing seven hits, one walk and two runs while striking out four.

The Angels led 5-1 as Skaggs started the eighth, leaving after 100 pitches and a leadoff double to Ryan Goins. Kirby Yates, recalled Saturday from Salt Lake City and making his Angels debut, replaced Skaggs and didn't fool anyone.

Kevin Pillar hit a two-run home run to left to cut the lead to 5-3. Chris Coghlan hit a deep fly to center tracked down by Mike Trout. Jose Bautista followed with a deep drive in the right-field gap that Calhoun turned into an out with his diving catch on the warning track.


"I just turned and ran and the ball kind of hung up for a little bit,'' Calhoun said.

Toronto's Justin Smoak homered to start the ninth. Bud Norris relieved Yates and gave up a single to Steve Pearce, but Simmons' dive started a double play and Norris struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia to end it.

It was just the second win in 11 games for the Angels, a span that saw the club score just 16 runs in nine games before scoring seven runs in an extra-inning loss to Toronto Friday. Trout had a pair of doubles.

Toronto, which has not won a series or back-to-back games, fell to 4-13. Pillar extended his hitting streak to 10 games, and Smoak had three hits.

"They made two great defensive plays,'' Toronto manager John Gibbons said. ``Simmons is known for that. We made some good defensive plays and had a good first inning, then went silent until late.''

NOTES: The Angels received more bad news Saturday for their ailing pitching staff. RHP Cam Bedrosian, who hadn't allowed a run in six appearances as the new closer with Huston Street (elbow) on the 60-day DL, suffered a groin injury and was placed on the 10-day disabled list. RHP Garrett Richards, who missed most of 2016 after a UCL tear in his elbow, was moved from the 10-day to the 60-day disabled list as he continues therapy. He started one game this season, lasting 4 1/3 innings, before the elbow tightened up ... The Angels sent RHP Alex Meyer, who was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake to start Friday's 8-7, 13-inning loss, back down to the minors. RHP Daniel Wright and RHP Kirby Yates were recalled to replace Meyer and Bedrosian ... The Blue Jays placed SS Troy Tulowitzki on the 10-day disabled list after injuring his right hamstring sliding into third base Friday night. The Blue Jays also optioned RHP Daniel Barnes to Buffalo, and recalled pitchers RHP Casey Lawrence and RHP Leonel Campos ... Blue Jays INF Ty Kelly was claimed by the Phillies off waivers.


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