Simmons belts grand slam to lead Angels past Blue Jays 5-4

Simmons belts grand slam to lead Angels past Blue Jays 5-4

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Andrelton Simmons did everything in bunches Saturday night.

Simmons hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the third inning, then started the Angels’ fourth double play with a diving stop in the ninth to help Los Angeles beat the struggling Toronto Blue Jays 5-4.

“Double plays are great, but grand slams are cool, too, especially when you win,” Simmons said.

After home runs by Kevin Pillar and Justin Smoak, the Blue Jays had the tying run on first with nobody out in the ninth when Devon Travis hit a grounder up the middle that Simmons sprawled out to stop. Simmons flipped the ball to second base with his glove to start the 6-4-3 double play.

“I saw it off the bat, and knew I was getting to it,” Simmons said. “Once it was in the glove, it was just practice.”

Simmons cleared the bases against Casey Lawrence (0-2) for his second career grand slam, helping the Angels snap a three-game losing streak and win for the second time in 11 games.

“Momentum was huge in the game, especially after the home run by Pillar,” said Kole Calhoun, whose diving catch robbed Jose Bautista of extra bases an inning earlier. “To make that catch, and then Simmons making that diving play when they had a guy on definitely put it back on our side.”

Tyler Skaggs (1-1) gave up a run in the first but settled down to hold the Blue Jays to five hits over the next six innings, getting the Blue Jays to hit into three double plays along the way. He was lifted after Ryan Goins doubled to lead off the eighth.

“He was fantastic,” Calhoun said of Skaggs. “He went out, made his pitches, got those double plays when he needed them. He threw the ball well, worked into the eighth inning, which was huge for us, especially after last night.”

Toronto is a majors’ worst 4-13 and placed star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on the 10-day disabled list prior to the game. Tulowitzki has a strained right hamstring.

“Obviously those were two great plays,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “Obviously Simmons is known for those kinds of double plays. But (Ryan) Goins made one just as good that bailed us out a few innings earlier.”

Bud Norris pitched the ninth for his first save.

Pillar extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a two-run homer off reliever Kirby Yates, one batter after Skaggs was lifted, making the score 5-3.

Smoak led off the ninth with a homer off Yates to pull the Blue Jays within 5-4.

Lawrence gave up five runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Mike Trout had a pair of doubles, giving him 13 extra-base hits on the season, passing Boston’s Mitch Moreland for the most extra-base hits in the American League this season.

Trout ripped a ground-rule double down the left-field line in the fifth inning and scored on Simmons’ slam.

He also drove a fly ball off the left-field wall for an easy two-bagger with one out in the seventh.

Trout also scored the Angels’ first run in the first inning. He reached on an error, took second on a single by Albert Pujols and scored on a single up the middle by C.J. Cron.

RELOADING RELIEVERS

Both teams reloaded their bullpens after they combined to use 15 pitchers in Friday night’s 13-inning game. The Blue Jays called up RHP Yoenel Campos from Triple-A Buffalo, while the Angels called up RHPs Daniel Wright and Yates from Triple-A Salt Lake.

TRAINER’S ROOM

The eighth inning of Friday night’s 5 1/2-hour game proved costly for both teams. Tulowitzki injured himself going from second to third on a wild pitch. Angels reliever Cam Bedrosian, who threw the wild pitch, was also placed on the disabled list Saturday with a groin injury.

SOLID AT SHORT

Goins shored up the Jays’ defence at shortstop with Tulowitzki out. In the seventh inning, Pujols scorched a grounder into the hole that Goins stopped with a full dive, then he backhanded the ball to second to start a sensational double play.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (1-2, 4.05) makes his fourth start of the season, and first since giving up six runs and 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings in a lost to Boston on Tuesday night.

Angels: Prior to Saturday’s game, manager Mike Scioscia declined to offer his selection for Sunday’s starting pitcher, telling reporters his decision was “depending upon what happens tonight.”

___

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Tim Liotta, The Associated Press

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