Shohei Ohtani Went 1 for 3 with a Singl; Angels Beat Blue Jays 3-2 to Avoid Sweep

Cole Burston/The Canadian Press via AP
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) yells to teammate Luis Rengifo to take second base on a wild pitch in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto, Sunday, July 30, 2023.

TORONTO (AP) — Hunter Renfroe hit a two-run home run in the 10th inning and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.

“To say this one was needed right now is an understatement,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said.

Los Angeles (55-51) trails Toronto (59-47) by four games in the AL wild-card race. Boston and the New York Yankees are both ahead of the Angels.

“Knowing that we could cut down on the lead that those guys have on us, it’s really big,” closer Carlos Estévez said. “Every game is really important, but this one was a little bit more important than we’ve faced throughout this road trip already.”

Renfroe’s 17th home run of the season came off Blue Jays right-hander Yimi García (3-4). It was the Angels’ first hit with a runner in scoring position in the series. Los Angeles had gone 0 for 27 before Renfroe’s one-out drive to left.

Renfroe’s fifth career homer in extra innings drove in automatic runner Mike Moustakas from third base.

“I wasn’t really trying to hit a homer there,” Renfroe said. “I was trying to just make sure I hit the ball and get the guy in. I wasn’t trying to swing for the fences.”

With closer Jordan Romano on the injured list because of a sore back, Blue Jays manager John Schneider turned to García for the third straight day for the first time all season, but it didn’t work out.

“You’re trying to put guys in the right spot,” Schneider said. “They just got the big hit.”

Shortly after the game, the Blue Jays announced they acquired right-handed reliever Jordan Hicks from the St. Louis Cardinals for minor league righties Sem Robberse and Adam Kloffenstein, both at Double-A New Hampshire.

Renfroe went 3 for 4 and drove in all three runs. He also hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly. He is batting .429 (12 for 28) with two homers and five RBI in his past eight games.

“Hunter’s really been swinging the bat well for four or five days now,” Nevin said. “He’s got that kind of power where he can hit in the seats when it’s not a full-bore swing.”

Estévez (5-1) pitched the final two innings for the win. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove in automatic runner Bo Bichette with a leadoff single in the 10th, but the Blue Jays couldn’t tie it.

Matt Chapman walked and Kevin Kiermaier pinch-ran for Guerrero, but Estévez struck out George Springer and Cavan Biggio before retiring Danny Jansen to end it.

“He’s been a bulldog for us all year at the back,” Nevin said.

Springer finished 0 for 5 and is hitless in 29 at-bats.

Two-way Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani went 1 for 3 with a single. Ohtani flied out in the first, singled and scored in the third and was intentionally walked with a runner at second and two outs in the fourth. Mickey Moniak popped up to end the inning.

Ohtani grounded out in the seventh against Blue Jays left-hander Génesis Cabrera.

Ohtani came up with Luis Rengifo at first base in the ninth against left-hander Tim Mayza. When Rengifo advanced to second on a wild pitch, putting Ohtani ahead 2-0 in the count, the Blue Jays called for another intentional walk.

Renfroe opened the scoring with his sacrifice fly in the third, but Eduardo Escobar flied out to strand two runners.

Toronto tied it in the fifth against Angels left-hander Tyler Anderson. Daulton Varsho hit a one-out double and scored on Whit Merrifield’s single. Merrifield advanced to second on left fielder Moniak’s error, but Anderson retired Bichette and Guerrero to escape the jam.

Left-hander Matt Moore replaced Anderson after Varsho hit his second double in the seventh. Anderson allowed one run and seven hits. He walked one and struck out two.

Toronto loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but Moore got Santiago Espinal to ground into a fielder’s choice.

Blue Jays right-hander José Berríos allowed one run and six hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out six. Berríos has not won since June 24 against Oakland, going six starts between victories.