Ohtani and Simmons deliver in 9th as Angels edge Blue Jays

Shohei Ohtani drove in two runs in the ninth and helped the Los Angeles Angels rally to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays.

TORONTO — Blue Jays reliever Tyler Clippard appeared immersed in thought as he sat by his locker Wednesday night after blowing a save opportunity in a 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

Clippard stared straight ahead for about 10 minutes, his index finger slowly stroking his chin from time to time.

It was an outing he’d like to put behind him as soon as possible.

Clippard (4-2) entered the ninth inning with a 3-1 lead but gave up four earned runs as the Angels came back for the win.

The reliever walked the bases loaded before a two-run single by Shohei Ohtani tied the game and a two-run single by Andrelton Simmons put the Angels ahead to stay.

"These are tough days and tough losses to swallow," said Clippard. "Like I said, you’ve just got to move on."

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

Toronto halved the deficit in the ninth when pinch-hitter Kendrys Morales drove in Dwight Smith Jr., 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.

"He put it right on the money," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "That’s a rocket. That’s not shallow right field, that’s medium right field. There’s not many right-fielders who are going to be able to stop a guy like Granderson but he put it right on the money."

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.

"He knows, he’s been there, he’s done that," Sanchez said of Clippard. "You just get behind him and back him up. That’s all you can really do. It’s a tough night. It’s one of those days."

Toronto has dropped five of its last six games.

"I was just not executing when I needed to," Clippard said. "I got into some 3-2 counts, I felt like I needed to be a little more aggressive in the zone. They fought off some tough pitches, took some tough pitches.

"But just ultimately I didn’t make the pitches when I needed to."

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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