Baseball / Sports

It's a lucky 13th for the Angels against Atlanta

ATLANTA -- Dino Ebel was looking forward to filling in for Manager Mike Scioscia on Saturday night, a rare opportunity for the Angels bench coach to call the shots in a game against the Atlanta Braves in Turner Field.

"It's fun when you get a chance to have the lineup card in your pocket," Ebel said before the game. "You want to make decisions. You want it to be a close game. If you're down by 10 or up by 10, it's basic stuff. If there are decisions to be made, that's the fun part."

Ebel got a little more than he bargained for, a wild and crazy game in which he made seven pitching changes, used three position players off his bench and had pitcher C.J. Wilson pinch-hitting in the 13th inning.

But it all worked out in the end for the Angels, who scored five runs in the top of the 13th inning to pull out an 11-6 victory over the Braves.

The Angels took advantage of two walks and a hit batter to load the bases with no outs in the 13th, and Kole Calhoun (run-scoring single to center), Mike Trout (two-run double to left) and Albert Pujols (two-run single to center) delivered the big hits in the 4-hour 57-minute game. The Angels had a 5-1 lead going into the ninth, but closer Ernesto Frieri failed to retire one batter. Andrelton Simmons opened with a single to left, and pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit singled to center.

Jason Heyward singled to center to drive in Simmons, and B.J. Upton followed with a line drive to the right-center-field gap that nicked off the glove of the diving Calhoun for a two-run triple that made it 5-4. Freddie Freeman's ground-rule double tied the score, 5-5, and put the winning run on second with no outs.

But right-hander Mike Morin replaced Frieri and struck out Justin Upton for the first out. Evan Gattis, who hit a solo home run in the eighth, was intentionally walked, and Morin got Johnson to ground into an inning-ending double play.

The Angels still had a chance for a story book ending when Pujols led off the 10th with a double to left-center and scored on Josh Hamilton's single to left against right-hander Craig Kimbrel, widely considered the best closer in the game, for a 6-5 lead.

His bullpen nearly depleted, Ebel turned to rookie right-hander Cam Bedrosian, who grew up in nearby East Coweta, Ga., and is the son of Steve Bedrosian, the former closer who spent eight seasons with the Braves and won the 1987 National League Cy Young Award with the Philadelphia Phillies.

But with dozens of family members and friends watching from the Turner Field stands and a chance to record his first major league save, Bedrosian, a hard-throwing, 22-year-old right-hander, couldn't hold the lead.

Tommy LaStella opened the 10th with a single, and Bedrosian's nerves appeared to get the best of him when he dropped the ball while going into the stretch before a pitch to Simmons, the balk moving LaStella to second.

Simmons grounded out to third, the runner holding, but Angels shortstop Erick Aybar was unable to secure pinch-hitter Ramiro Pena's bad-hop chopper, a play that was ruled an infield single with LaStella still holding at second.

Bedrosian shattered Heyward's bat with a pitch, but the Braves right fielder got just enough of the ball to bloop it into right for a run-scoring single that made it 6-6.

B.J. Upton grounded to short, both runners advancing, and Freeman was walked intentionally to load the bases. Justin Upton flared a ball to shallow right, but Calhoun raced in and made a spectacular catch to preserve the tie and send the game to the 11th.

Atlanta threatened again in the 11th when Gattis singled against Fernando Salas and took second on Chris Johnson's sacrifice bunt. LaStella was walked intentionally, and Simmons lined a ball that third baseman John McDonald made lunging grab of and threw to second for an inning-ending double play.

(c)2014 Los Angeles Times

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