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Angels slide into split with Blue Jays

April 25, 2017

ANAHEIM -- Thanks to a solid start by Jesse Chavez and a crafty slide by Cameron Maybin, the Angels secured a split of their four-game series with the Blue Jays after holding on for a 2-1 victory in Monday night's finale at Angel Stadium.Chavez held Toronto to one run on

ANAHEIM -- Thanks to a solid start by Jesse Chavez and a crafty slide by Cameron Maybin, the Angels secured a split of their four-game series with the Blue Jays after holding on for a 2-1 victory in Monday night's finale at Angel Stadium.
Chavez held Toronto to one run on four hits while walking four and striking out seven over six innings against his former club. Chavez had been slated to start on Sunday, but his outing was pushed back one day after he was pressed into relief action and allowed the game-winning home run during the Angels' 13-inning loss to the Blue Jays on Friday.
"You never want to end with an 'L,' and tonight [the goal] was not let that happen, not make that one pitch a mistake," Chavez said. "Because the other night, I got two quick outs, and it kind of unraveled. Tonight, my mentality was every time I get an out, there's always another one. That was kind of what worked out tonight."
Chavez's lone mistake came in the fourth, when he surrendered a home run to Russell Martin that briefly gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.
Chavez finds redemption with 7-K gem

The Angels' bullpen, which had faltered in their two losses to Toronto over the weekend, sealed the win with Yusmeiro Petit, David Hernandez and Bud Norris combining for three scoreless innings. Hernandez, acquired in a trade with the Braves earlier in the day, worked two-thirds of an inning in his Angels debut, while Norris picked up his second career save.
The Blue Jays threatened in the ninth, putting the tying run on second and the go-ahead run on first with no outs, but Norris worked out of the jam by striking out Chris Coghlan and inducing a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
"It's kind of a new neighborhood for him just being in the bullpen, let alone being pushed to the back end," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Norris. "Not that he's necessarily going to close every game, but the way it's worked out, he's pitched the ninth inning and done a good job the last couple opportunities he had. I think he's fine."

Blue Jays left-hander Francisco Liriano yielded two runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings, walking four and striking out two. Liriano has rebounded from a rough season debut -- in which he surrendered five runs and recorded just one out -- to post a 2.08 ERA across his last three outings, yielding only four earned runs through 17 1/3 innings.
"I just try to keep the team in the ballgame," Liriano said. "We're just having a tough time winning games, but I think we've just got to keep playing hard and put this one behind us and come ready to play tomorrow."
Toronto manager John Gibbons was ejected for a second consecutive game after arguing balls and strikes in the sixth. Gibbons was upset after Martin took a called third strike from Chavez to end the inning, as the ball appeared to be well outside the zone.
"I was sitting over there [in the dugout]. We can tell up and down, but you can't tell in and out," Gibbons said. "And I thought it was kind of a moving zone. Liriano, his ball-to-strike ratio wasn't good, but it didn't look like he was scattering it everywhere, you know. I defend my guys. I've always done that. I always will."
Blue Jays aren't catching any breaks

Pujols ties it: After Martin homered to give Toronto a 1-0 lead in the fourth, Michael Trout led off the bottom of the inning by tripling to right field after Jose Bautista slipped while trying to field the ball. Trout's triple, which had a 79.4-mph exit velocity and a 35-degree launch angle, had a hit probability of only 3 percent, according to Statcast™.

Trout subsequently scored on Jose Pujols' single to tie the game at 1. Pujols collected his 1,833rd career RBI on the play, tying him with Dave Winfield for 17th on the all-time list. On Sunday, Pujols passed Manny Ramirez to become the all-time leader among Dominican players, and he is MLB's active leader.

Angels' small ball: The Angels took a 2-1 lead after manufacturing the go-ahead run in the fifth. Maybin singled, stole second and advanced to third on Martin Maldonado's sacrifice bunt before scoring on Yunel Escobar's RBI fielder's-choice grounder to second base. The Blue Jays challenged whether Maybin was safe after beating second baseman Devon Travis' short-hopped throw home, and the ruling was allowed to stand following a replay review.
The play was close, and it wasn't clear Maybin caught the plate as he leaned away from the tag and reached for home.
"I didn't think I touched the plate at first, that's why I went right back to it," Maybin said. "I knew I was pretty close, but the good [catchers], even with the new rule, they find a way to kind of still block the plate a little bit. It was one of those things where you've got to slide a little bit later and use your athleticism. I was fortunate to get in there."

"It probably kept me in the game. If he didn't do that, maybe I was the one who was going to be thrown out of the game there. So I definitely appreciate the manager doing that for me." -- Martin, on Gibbons arguing the called third strike that led to his ejection
Toronto outfielder Kevin Pillar's 0-for-3 night brought an end to his career-high-tying 11-game hitting streak. He hit .362 (17-for-47) with eight extra-base hits in those 11 games.
Blue Jays: The Blue Jays will head east to St. Louis for a three-game Interleague series against the Cardinals that marks the first meeting between the clubs since 2014. Right-hander Marco Estrada will start Tuesday's opener at 8:15 p.m. ET, facing an opponent he's very familiar with from his five seasons in Milwaukee.
Angels: The Angels continue their seven-game homestand by opening a three-game series with the A's at 7:07 PT on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. Right-hander JC Ramirez, who has logged a 6.46 ERA this season, will start the opener for the Halos.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for based in Los Angeles. He covered the Blue Jays on Monday.