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Angels

In a game of give and take, Blue Jays get 8-7 victory over Angels in 13th inning

Two disappointing teams kept pushing and pulling Friday, trying to find some way to make sense of a game that seemed determined not to end.

Finally it was the Toronto Blue Jays, a team that had begun their season with the worst start in club history (3-12) and the worst start for any team that had played in the postseason the previous year, who pulled it out.

And it was their one player who was struggling most of all, Jose Bautista, drilling a three-run homer in the 13th inning that held up for an 8-7 Toronto victory.

For Bautista, who started the night batting .109, it was his first home run of the year.

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The loss left the sinking Angels as losers in nine of their last 10 games.

Having exhausted their bullpen, they called on Jesse Chavez to pitch the 13th inning. Chavez was scheduled to start Sunday.

But after getting the first two outs of the inning, he gave up singles to Kevin Pillar and Ezequiel to set up Bautista for his blast to center.

The Angels still made in interesting, scoring two runs in the bottom of the 13th. They loaded the bases with no outs on a walk and two Toronto errors. The Blue Jays called on reliever Joe Biagini, who struck out Cliff Pennington for the first out.

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Kole Calhoun singled in one run and Mike Trout walked to force in a second. But Biagini struck out Albert Pujols and got C.J. Cron to line out to center to end it. It was Biagini’s first save of the season and only the second of his career.

Earlier in the night, the Angels lost third baseman Yunel Escobar. He left after the fifth inning when he ducked his head quickly to avoid being hit by a pitch. The Angels said he left because of dizziness.

The Angels looked like they’d given the game away in the eighth inning. Leading 4-3, Bud Norris walked two and gave way to almost-closer Cam Bedrosian, who promptly wild pitched the runners up a base and gave up a two-run double to Justin Smoak.

Toronto’s lead was brief. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Danny Espinoza walked. That’s a rare occurrence. It was only the second time he’s walked this season. It must have shaken reliever Dominic Leone, who gave up a high drive to pinch-hitter Jefry Marte.

The ball started to fall near the left-field foul pole as Ezequiel Carrera mistimed his jump and went past the ball. It caromed back onto the field for a run-scoring double. It appeared the ball may have ricocheted off the bottom of the foul pole, but after a review it was ruled a double.

The game began with two starters making their 2017 debuts. One a veritable puppy, the Angels’ Alex Meyer, appearing in his seventh career start. The other a grizzled veteran, Toronto’s Mat Latos, who somehow remains only 29.

Meyer is the former No.1 draft pick of the Washington Nationals who ultimately made his way to the Angels last season along with Ricky Nolasco as part of the Hector Santiago trade.

Meyer throws in the mid-to-high 90s, but struggled with control issues during the spring and failed to win a spot in the rotation. He was brought up Friday to give the starters an extra day of rest, though it hardly worked that way for the relievers. Or for Chavez.

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The Angels have struggled to get length from their rotation and Meyer lasted only 3 2/3 innings. He gave up two runs on two hits, but walked four — two that scored, the last on a wild pitch in the third.

The Angels, however, came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning. A Martin Maldonado single and two walks loaded the bases for Pujols, who doubled hard down the third-base line to clear the bases.

After Trout hit a solo home run in the fifth, the Blue Jays got one back in the sixth on errors by Escobar (dropped pop up) and Andrelton Simmons (throwing miscue).

The game took 5 hours 36 minutes. The Angels exhausted all their position players and relievers.

sports@latimes.com


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