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Calhoun turns away Dodgers with 'walk-off throw'

@RhettBollinger
July 24, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- While Mike Trout also homered and threw out a runner at the plate, it was Kole Calhoun who made the biggest play in the Angels' 5-4 win over the Dodgers on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. With two outs in the ninth and Cody Bellinger at second,

LOS ANGELES -- While Mike Trout also homered and threw out a runner at the plate, it was Kole Calhoun who made the biggest play in the Angels' 5-4 win over the Dodgers on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

With two outs in the ninth and Cody Bellinger at second, Enrique Hernandez smacked a hard-hit single to right to Calhoun, who raced to his right and unleashed a throw home in time to get Bellinger and end the game. Calhoun's throw was 94.1 mph and sailed 240 feet to catcher Dustin Garneau, per Statcast.

Box score

"It got everybody pretty fired up," Calhoun said. "So it was pretty cool. That’s as good as hitting a home run to end the game. Keep a run of the board. We get a win, throw a guy out. As a defender, that’s what you dream about."

Bellinger was waved home by former Angels outfield coach Dino Ebel, who knew it was going to be tough for Calhoun to field the ball cleanly and come up with the throw. Hernandez's single had an exit velocity of 105.4, so it got to Calhoun in a hurry.

"He had to go to his right and got his footwork in place and threw a perfect throw," Ebel said. "To me, it was a good send, you’ve got to be aggressive. But any time you get a guy thrown out at the plate, I’m responsible. That’s how I feel. I’ll take that one. The last one, do-or-die throw and he put it on the money and he got Bellinger."

Bellinger sparked the rally with a one-out double off closer Hansel Robles before Max Muncy brought home a run with a sacrifice fly to left. But Robles picked up his 15th save thanks to Calhoun’s heroics, causing the Angels to celebrate the unique way to finish off the win.

“A walk-off throw to the plate, you don’t see that very often," said Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. "My first concern -- because Kole was moving so fast and the ball was hit so hard -- was whether he’d be able to field it. Once he had the ball cleanly, I knew he had a shot just because of his arm strength.”

Calhoun also had a big night offensively, going 3-for-5 with a homer, two doubles and two RBIs. It was similar night to Trout, who threw out Muncy at home in the second inning and smacked a solo homer to left in the fifth. But Calhoun said he learned long ago not to try to one-up Trout, a two-time American League MVP and eight-time All-Star.

“Not with that guy,” Calhoun said with a laugh. “That guy is pretty good. I am just out here trying to play.”

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.