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OC Register: Kole Calhoun’s 10th-inning home run lifts Angels over Seattle Mariners


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    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney throws to a Seattle Mariners batter during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, July 27, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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    Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc throws during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, July 27, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney winds up during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Seattle Mariners on Friday, July 27, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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    Seattle Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki, of Japan, runs the bases during batting practice prior to the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, July 27, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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    A fan holds up a sign for Seattle Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki during batting practice prior to a baseball game against the Los Angeles AngelsFriday, July 27, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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    Seattle Mariners’ Mike Zunino, right, hits a solo home run as Los Angeles Angels catcher Jose Briceno watches during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 27, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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    Seattle Mariners’ Mike Zunino is congratulated by teammates after hitting a solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, July 27, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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    Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, right, of Japan, strikes out next to Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Zunino during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 27, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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    Seattle Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki, of Japan, stands in the dugout prior to a baseball game against the Los Angeles AngelsFriday, July 27, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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ANAHEIM – Kole Calhoun saved his best for last.

After the Angels challenged a call at home plate to take a run from the Seattle Mariners in the top of the 10th inning, Calhoun hit a home run in the bottom of the inning to secure a 4-3 win.

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The Angels won for the sixth time this season in their final at-bat. It was the first time Calhoun has ever ended a game with a home run.

Calhoun had two of the Angels’ seven hits, including a double against left-hander Wade LeBlanc prior to his homer against right-hander Juan Nicasio (1-5). It was his 12th home run of the season, and his 11th in 32 games since returning from the disabled list in June.

Seattle briefly took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 10th inning. Dee Gordon singled against Angels pitcher Jim Johnson, stole second base, and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Jose Briceño. Johnson then walked Jean Segura, putting runners on first and third base with one out.

When Segura took off running for second base, Briceño threw down to second baseman Ian Kinsler, prompting Gordon to take off from third. The American League leader in stolen bases with 24, Gordon was initially ruled safe by home plate umpire Kerwin Danley.

But the Angels challenged the call, and after a review, the umpires agreed: Briceño tagged Gordon on his arm just before Gordon touched the plate with his head-first slide. With two outs in the inning, Johnson came back to strike out Mitch Haniger and set the stage for the dramatic finish.

Angels first baseman Albert Pujols delivered another historic hit, and a game-changing play on defense in the ninth inning. David Fletcher went 1 for 3, extending his hitting streak to seven games.

Angels starter Andrew Heaney pitched eight amazingly efficient innings but did not factor into the decision. He allowed three runs, all earned, on seven hits. The left-handed did not walk a batter and struck out five. He needed only 81 pitches to complete eight innings.

Pujols led off the second inning with a line drive into the left field corner. As Mariners outfielder Ben Gamel tracked the ball down, Pujols rumbled into second base without hesitation, beating Gamel’s long throw standing up. It was the 3,061st hit of his career, passing Craig Biggio for 24th place on baseball’s all-time hit list.

With one out, Ian Kinsler walked, and Jose Briceño dumped a weak single into right field, loading the bases for Calhoun.

Calhoun began the day with only seven hits (six singles) against left-handed pitchers this season. He was dropped to ninth in the batting order against LeBlanc, but this time LeBlanc’s handedness did not come in handy. Calhoun launched the first pitch he saw, a slow curveball over the plate. The ball bounced down the right field line and into the stands for a ground-rule double, scoring Pujols and Kinsler to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.

David Fletcher followed with a deep sacrifice fly to score Briceño. The Angels did not score again until the 10th inning.

LeBlanc did not factor into the decision, and a mostly right-handed Angels lineup could not take advantage of his unusual pitching splits. Unlike most left-handers, LeBlanc has fared better in his career against right-handed hitters. Friday, he allowed three runs on five hits over six innings.

Meanwhile, the Mariners chipped away at their deficit against Heaney. Kyle Seager led off the fifth inning with a scorching ground ball, but Andrelton Simmons went to his backhand to record the out. Ryon Healy hit a 102-mph line drive into left field, but Justin Upton caught it easily.

The next batter, Mike Zunino, broke through by depositing a fly ball over the fence, just beyond Calhoun’s reach in the right-field corner. The Angels led 3-1.

In the seventh inning, Nelson Cruz cleared the digital scoreboard in right-center field for a home run. Kyle Seager nearly followed with a homer of his own, but Angels center fielder Mike Trout leaped in front of the fence to haul down the 396-foot out.

In the eighth inning, Seattle drew even.

Zunino led off with a line drive to left field, perhaps a catchable ball if Upton turned to his left. Instead he turned to his right, and could not reverse course in time to make an out. Zunino coasted into second base with a double.

A groundout sent Zunino to third base, where he was replaced by pinch runner Andrew Romine. The Angels drew their infielders in. That allowed the next batter, Guillermo Heredia, to deposit a short fly ball over the head of second baseman Ian Kinsler into shallow right field. Romine scored easily, tying the game at 3.

With runners on first and second base in the ninth inning, Seattle’s Chris Herrmann shot a 97-mph ground ball down the first-base line. Only a diving Pujols prevented the ball from reaching the outfield and driving in the go-ahead run.

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