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The Anaheim Angels appeared to have blown Game 3 of the Freeway Series with the Dodgers, but walked off in the bottom of the ninth thanks to one of the most bizarre endings you'll ever see.
Ben Revere scored the game-winning run after Cameron Maybin struck out with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but Yasmani Grandal's throw to first sailed past Chase Utley and the Angels won on a strikeout, passed ball, and error, 3-2, on Wednesday night.
"We haven't lost any games like that this season," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts after the awkward ending. "That's a tough way to lose."
Grandal quickly went from hero to goat after he tied the game in the top of the ninth with the Dodgers down to their final strike.
"The home run doesn't matter when you lose the game," a visibly upset Grandal said after the game. "The home run would have mattered if we had won it. It kept us in the game, and got us to the bottom of the ninth, but we still lost."
Grandal became the first Dodger since Shawn Green on August 3, 2002 to hit a game-tying home run while down to their last strike.
Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Meyer went toe-to-toe in a pitcher's duel through the first five innings of the game.
Andrelton Simmons broke a scoreless tie when he crushed a curveball from Ryu in the bottom of the sixth inning to score the only runs of the game for the Halos.
Andrelton Simmons hits a towering fly ball to left-center field for a two-run home run and gives the Angels a 2-0 lead in the 6th inning!!! pic.twitter.com/WLPhVr2PP1— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) June 29, 2017
Simmons blast was his eighth of the season and snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak againt the Angels for Ryu.
Trayce Thompson hit a solo shot to lead off the eighth inning but it was not enough as the Dodgers only mustered two total hits in the game.
"It just feels good to contribute and do what I can to help the team," said Thompson of his first home run of the season. "Obviously, we fell short tonight, but it feels good to play and contribute. I'm just happy I'm back."
Ryu pitched well, despite not factoring in the decision, as the Korean left-hander allowed just the two-run homer to Simmons, scattering seven hits with one walk and eight strikeouts in five and 2/3 innings.
"Hyun-Jin threw a very good baseball game," said Roberts of Ryu. "He was on the attack. The hanging breaking ball to Simmons was the difference at that point, but I thought his whole body of work was very good."
The gentle giant, Alex Meyer, outdueled Ryu for the Angels. The six-foot, nine-inch, Meyer allowed just one hit—a single to Grandal—striking out four, while walking a career-high five in six shutout innings.
"I thought we were stressing him and grinding at-bats," said Roberts of Meyer. "We had a good plan against him, but we couldn't get through. We couldn't get that big hit against him when we needed it."
Meyer has allowed two or fewer runs at home in eight consecutive starts, and is just the fourth pitcher in franchise history to toss shutouts of 6+ innings with two hits or less in back-to-back home starts.
The Angels new closer, Cam Bedrosian, blew the save, serving up the homer to Grandal in the bottom of the ninth, but still was credited with the win thanks to Grandal's error.
Ironically, Grandal was not the only error in the bottom of the ninth.
After Pedro Baez got the first out of the inning, Revere reached first on an error by shortstop Chris Taylor. Corey Seager is the Dodgers' everyday shortstop, but he has missed the team's last five games with a hamstring injury.
Revere reached second on a wild pitch, and then scored after Baez struck out Maybin with a changeup, but the ball got by Grandal who tried to throw to first to get Maybin out, instead throwing the ball over the head of Chase Utley who was making a spot start at first base.
"I picked up the ball and saw Maybin was late running," recalled Grandal of the last play of the game. "I didn't get a good grip on it. As soon as I double clutched, I said to myself 'oh [expletive], Revere is now at third and could go home.' I tried to hurry my throw. I was off balance and all of a sudden I threw it away."
The win was the Angels seventh walk-off victory this season, the most in the Majors, and they are 7-2 in walk-off games this season.
Surprisingly, this is not the first time the Halos have won a game on a walk-off strikeout.
On June 16, 1986, Wally Joyner scored the game-winning run for the Angels following a strikeout by George Hedrick's that saw the ball roll all the way to the backstop against the Texas Rangers.
Speaking of the Rangers, the last walk-off strikeout in the Majors occured on Sept. 29, 2010 when the Rangers defeated the Seattle Mariners on the rare walk-off strikeout.
Despite the loss, the Dodgers are still 1.5 games ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the National League West.
"If I had to do it over again, I'd probably try to do the same thing," added Grandal. "Probably next time, I'll try and get my feet under me and make sure I at least throw it on the bag and I'm not throwing changeups to first. But we're still in first place, so there's no lows in here."
The Dodgers have lost their last four games at Angel Stadium.
Nine years ago to the day, the Dodgers beat the Angels 1-0 at Dodger Stadium despite being no-hit by Angels' starter Jered Weaver.
The finale of the Freeway Series will be on Thursday as Dodgers' ace Clayton Kershaw looks to even the series against RHP J.C. Ramirez. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07PM PST.