Bobby Abreu's run-scoring single gives Angels 6-5 walk-off win over Toronto
Bobby Abreu atoned for a ninth-inning error that enabled Toronto to score the tying run by lining a two-out, bases-loaded single to left field in the bottom of the ninth, lifting the Angels to a 6-5 walk-off victory over the Blue Jays at Angel Stadium on Wednesday.
With the score tied, 5-5, Mike Napoli opened the bottom of the ninth with a double to left-center field off reliever Scott Downs. Maicer Izturis fouled off two pitches while attempting a sacrifice bunt but was able to ground a ball to second for an out that advanced Napoli to third.
Pinch-hitter Juan Rivera and Erick Aybar were intentionally walked to load the bases for Howie Kendrick, who hit a sharp grounder toward the middle. But Toronto shortstop Alex Gonzalez made a diving stop, spun around and, from his knees, threw home in time to force Napoli for the second out.
Abreu worked the count to 2 and 2 before slapping an opposite-field game-winner to left, giving the Angels their fourth walk-off win of the season and moving them to within four games of first-place Texas in the American League West.
With Toronto trailing, 5-4, in the top of the ninth, Gonzalez opened with a popup to shallow right-center field, out of the range of second baseman Kendrick. Abreu appeared to get a late break from right field on the ball, which bounced out of Abreu's glove for a two-base error as Abreu tried to make a basket catch.
Angels closer Brian Fuentes struck out the major leagues' home-run leader, Jose Bautista, on three pitches, but John Buck laced a run-scoring double into the left-field corner that tied the score, 5-5. Pinch-runner Mike McCoy took third on Edwin Encarnacion's fly ball to deep center, but Fuentes struck out Jeremy Reed looking to end the inning.
Angels starter Joel Pineiro lost the strike zone in the second inning, walking three batters and giving up three runs, on a bases-loaded walk to Encarnacion and a two-run single by Reed. But the right-hander did not allow a hit over the next four innings, giving his offense a chance to come back.
The Angels scored twice in the third when Michael Ryan and Aybar walked, Kendrick chopped a run-scoring double off the glove of Encarnacion at third and Abreu hit a sacrifice fly to center. Izturis drew a two-out walk in the fourth and scored on Ryan's double to right to tie the score, 3-3.
Toronto Manager Cito Gaston pulled starter Brandon Morrow in favor of left-hander Rommie Lewis to start the sixth. Lewis threw only five pitches but did plenty of damage with them, allowing Kendry Morales' single to center and Hideki Matsui's two-run home run to right that gave the Angels a 5-3 lead. It was the designated hitter's second home run since April 22.
Right-hander Kevin Jepsen relieved Pineiro to start the seventh but gave up a one-out infield single to Jose Bautista and a two-out, run-scoring double to left-center by Encarnacion that pulled the Blue Jays within 5-4.
-- Mike DiGiovanna