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Taylor Featherston an unlikely hero in Angels' 13-inning win over Astros

Almost three months into the 2015 season, the Angels finally realized a return on the trade that sent one of their most productive and consistent hitters, veteran second baseman Howie Kendrick, to the Dodgers last December.

Andrew Heaney was called up from triple-A Salt Lake before Wednesday's game, and the 24-year-old left-hander gave up only one run and four hits, striking out five and walking one, in six innings of a 2-1, 13-inning victory over the Houston Astros in Angel Stadium.

Taylor Featherston, who entered as a defensive replacement at third base in the top of the ninth, dunked a soft single into shallow right field to give the Angels their fifth walk-off win of the season.

Erick Aybar sparked the winning rally with a single off left-hander Joe Thatcher to start the 13th. Aybar took second on Daniel Robertson’s sacrifice bunt and third on Efren Navarro’s groundout to second.

Chris Iannetta walked, and Featherston, a seldom-used infielder who had a .093 average, connected for his game-winning hit off Astros reliever Chad Qualls.

Five Angels relievers — Trevor Gott, Joe Smith, Huston Street, Fernando Salas and Jose Alvarez — combined to throw six scoreless, three-hit innings, striking out seven and walking two, with Alvarez gaining the win.

The Astros threatened in the ninth but killed their own rally with poor baserunning.

Preston Tucker singled to lead off the inning and was replaced by pinch-runner George Springer, who got caught leaning toward second and was picked off by Smith.

Evan Gattis shot a grounder past third base and into the left-field corner for a hit but slid awkwardly into second, his front leg popping into the air well before he reached the bag.

That gave second baseman Johnny Giavotella a little extra time to field Robertson’s strong one-hop throw from left field and tag Gattis for an out that was upheld after a 2-minute, 45-second umpire’s review.

Heaney, acquired from the Dodgers via the Miami Marlins, relied primarily on a 92-mph fastball and sharp slider to stifle an Astros team that racked up 13 runs and 16 hits, seven for extra bases, Tuesday night.

He threw first-pitch strikes to 14 of 23 batters and escaped a first-and-third two-out jam by getting Domingo Santana to fly to right field in the fifth.

His only blemish came in the fifth, when Jose Altuve singled with one out, stole second and scored when Carlos Correa smoked a run-scoring double over the head of left fielder Matt Joyce for a 1-1 tie.  After intentionally walking Gattis, Heaney struck out Colby Rasmus on three pitches to end the inning.

The Angels scored in the fourth after Albert Pujols walked on four pitches against Houston starter Lance McCullers, Joyce hit a one-out single to left and Navarro walked on four pitches to load the bases. Iannetta flied to medium left, was just deep enough for Pujols to tag up and score.

McCullers, making his eighth major league start after being recalled from double-A Corpus Christi in May, gave up one run and four hits in six innings, striking out six and walking three.

The Angels put two on with two out in the seventh, but Pujols flied out to the wall in right to end the inning. Robertson hit a one-out single in the eighth and took third on Iannetta’s bloop single, but Astros reliever Pat Neshek replaced Tony Sipp and struck out pinch-hitter David Freese to snuff out the rally.

Follow Mike DiGiovanna on Twitter @MikeDiGiovanna

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