The Angels of late have had trouble hitting.
But they had no problem walking Wednesday — walking their way right out of their hitting slump.
After three consecutive walks with one out in the ninth inning, Shohei Ohtani and Andrelton Simmons each produced the exact sort of hit the Angels have been lacking.
Their consecutive two-run singles completed a four-run rally from a two-run deficit to Toronto.
This, though, being the Angels, for whom nothing has been achieved recently without ample effort, there was still the bottom of the ninth to navigate before completing a 5-4 victory.
“That’s a big win,” said Simmons, whose team had lost six of seven. “We needed that.”
The triumph was secured by reliever Blake Parker but saved by right fielder Kole Calhoun, who, for the second time in 10 days, threw the most impactful fastball at the finish.
With no outs and a run already in, the Blue Jays appeared ready to tie the score when Teoscar Hernandez hit a potential sacrifice fly to right, where Calhoun positioned himself with other intentions.
“There’s nobody else you want that ball going to in the outfield,” Simmons said. “You know he’s going to give you a good throw every time he touches it.”
Breaking from third base was Curtis Granderson, who, at age 37, isn’t as fast as once was, but he’s still Curtis Granderson.
Calhoun’s throw arrived on the fly and on target, catcher Martin Maldonado applying the tag a fraction of a second before Granderson touched home.
“That’s a rocket,” manager Mike Scioscia said before asking, “How many right fielders are going to be able to stop a guy like Granderson?”
The moment felt very similar to the highlight double play Calhoun started in a 2-1 victory over Houston on May 14. In that one, he caught a tagging-up George Springer at second in the ninth.
“That’s the tying run, so I’m going to try to make a good throw,” Calhoun said of his latest assist, his best-in-baseball seventh of the season. “It came out good. Got him at the plate and saved a win for us.”
His exploits were possibly only after the Angels’ slumbering offense awakened in the top of the inning, rousted by a reliever who ignited the rally by misplacing the strike zone.
Tyler Clippard walked Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Albert Pujols in succession to set up Ohtani and Simmons.
The walks were gifts. The hits were clutch. The runs were therapeutic.
The Angels, who had been 0-18 when trailing after eight innings, still haven’t had as many as 10 hits in a game since May 11.
“I had many opportunities earlier in the game to drive in runs and I wasn’t able to do it,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “I was happy I was able to come through with that hit.”
The comeback helped soothe what had been building as a night of frustration for the Angels, their offensive struggles summed up in a maddening sixth inning.
They put an odd twist on the old baseball saying about never making the first or third out at third base by making the first and third out at third base.
During the inning, they also had four hits and a fifth ball that should have been a hit and scored exactly once.
Calhoun was the second runner caught at third when he attempted to advance from first on a Trout single to left, directly costing the Angels a run because Maldonado, who was running home, hadn’t reached the plate yet.
“I probably should have shut it down right when Trout hit it because there wasn’t going to be a play at home,” Calhoun said. “I’m glad we come out with a win because that’s a play where I’ve got to stop at second.”