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Calhoun denies Blue Jays with rocket throw

Angels' lead preserved in 9th on his MLB-best 7th outfield assist
MLB.com @mi_guardado

TORONTO -- Kole Calhoun has been mired in a slump over the first two months of the season, but he's saved the Angels on more than one occasion with his outstanding defense in right field. His latest defensive heroics came on Wednesday night, when he made an outstanding throw to nail the potential tying run at the plate in the ninth inning of the Angels' 5-4 comeback win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

The Angels scored four runs to take a 5-3 lead in the top of the ninth, but the Blue Jays came back and countered with a rally of their own against Blake Parker. Dwight Smith Jr. led off the inning with a single, and Curtis Granderson followed with a sinking liner to right field. Calhoun dived for the ball but missed, allowing it to bounce to the wall for a double.

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TORONTO -- Kole Calhoun has been mired in a slump over the first two months of the season, but he's saved the Angels on more than one occasion with his outstanding defense in right field. His latest defensive heroics came on Wednesday night, when he made an outstanding throw to nail the potential tying run at the plate in the ninth inning of the Angels' 5-4 comeback win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

The Angels scored four runs to take a 5-3 lead in the top of the ninth, but the Blue Jays came back and countered with a rally of their own against Blake Parker. Dwight Smith Jr. led off the inning with a single, and Curtis Granderson followed with a sinking liner to right field. Calhoun dived for the ball but missed, allowing it to bounce to the wall for a double.

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Kendrys Morales then delivered a pinch-hit RBI single to make it a one-run game. After Teoscar Hernandez flied out to right field, Granderson tried to tag up and score from third, but Calhoun got him at the plate with a perfect throw to catcher Martin Maldonado, keeping the Angels' lead intact. Parker subsequently struck out Justin Smoak to end the game.

Video: LAA@TOR: Parker strikes out Smoak to seal Angels' win

"Kole put it right on the money," manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's a rocket."

"It was a little high," shortstop Andrelton Simmons joked. "I was expecting it more on the line. But I guess I'll take it. We have high expectations for every time he throws the ball. ... There's nobody else you want that ball going to in the outfield. You know he's going to give you a good throw every time he touches it. I'm happy for him and happy that it worked out for the whole team."

Video: LAA@TOR: Simmons on the win, confidence in Calhoun

Calhoun is hitting just .154 this season and was dropped to the No. 9 spot on Wednesday for the first time since 2014, but his seven outfield assists are the most in the Majors.

"It feels good," said Calhoun, who won a Gold Glove Award in 2015. "You want to be in those spots. You want the ball hit to you in those situations. ... You just kind of visualize it before it happens, and everything went perfectly."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Kole Calhoun