CHICAGO (AP) — When the Los Angeles Angels got into big trouble and the phone broke and everything seemed to be falling apart, Cody Allen stayed cool.
All the way to the very end.
Allen worked out of a jam in the ninth inning and Zack Cozart had three hits, helping the Angels top the Chicago Cubs 6-5 on Saturday.
“Cody was big right there to lock it down,” Cozart said. “When the shadows come out, you never know what can happen.”
Los Angeles won for the seventh time in its last eight games. Ty Buttrey earned his first major league win in his 23rd appearance, and Tommy La Stella reached four times against his former team.
Allen struck out Daniel Descalso with two runners on in the eighth, and then closed it out for his fourth save. The Cubs had runners on second and third after left fielder Brian Goodwin dropped Jason Heyward’s sinking sacrifice fly near the foul line , but Allen struck out Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber to end the game.
“We just grinded through it,” Allen said. “Just trying to make one pitch, then make another pitch, then make another pitch. Hopefully you stack enough good pitches together you come out on the right side of it.”
Manager Brad Ausmus said he almost challenged the Heyward fly ball for fan interference, but at least one of the replay phones was down.
“(Instant replay coordinator) Matt Martin tried to pick up and call four times and it didn’t work,” Ausmus said. “And by the time he got to us, the 30 seconds were gone. Cody did a good job at pulling himself out of it.”
Schwarber threw his batting helmet down and had to be restrained by Javier Báez after third base umpire Gabe Morales ruled he went around on his check swing on strike three. Manager Joe Maddon then continued the argument as the umpires made their way off the field.
Schwarber watched a replay of the final pitch after the loss.
“Yeah, I took a look at it. I didn’t go the first time. I didn’t go the second time,” he said. “If you’re not 100% sure, you can’t call it.”
Playing without Mike Trout once again because of a groin injury, the Angels stopped a five-game road slide. Trout is receiving treatment in Southern California and could rejoin the team during its next series in Texas.
Cozart went 1 for 33 in his first 13 games this season. But he hit an RBI single in Los Angeles’ three-run second and singled again in the fourth and eighth.
“Hits are cool, that’s for sure,” Cozart said. “It’s even better when you win.”
Báez hit two RBI doubles for Chicago, which had won three of four. Kyle Hendricks (0-3) allowed three runs, two earned, and six hits in five innings in his third consecutive loss to begin the year.
Báez’s second run-scoring double trimmed Los Angeles’ lead to 3-2 in the fifth. But Buttrey (1-0) replaced Chris Stratton and retired Heyward on a grounder to first, ending the inning.
The Cubs pulled within two on Mark Zagunis’ pinch-hit single in the eighth before Allen fanned Descalso, ending the inning.
Maddon had Kris Bryant on his bench, but he sent Zagunis up to hit for reliever Brandon Kintzler. Bryant is batting .194 (7 for 36) with 13 strikeouts in his last nine games.
“If you’ve not pinch-hit, it’s really different,” Maddon said. “He’s a regular everyday player.”
The Angels jumped in front with three in the second, helped by another catcher interference call on the Cubs and a solid play by an exuberant fan in the front row at Wrigley Field.
After Jonathan Lucroy led off with a single, Goodwin hit a foul popup near the Cubs’ dugout. Báez and third baseman David Bote tried to chase down the ball, but a fan made the catch with his glove right as they arrived. The man appeared to apologize as Báez and Bote headed back to the field.
Goodwin and David Fletcher then hit consecutive singles to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead. La Stella reached on the fourth catcher interference call on the Cubs already this year, and Cozart singled in Goodwin. Fletcher scampered home when Stratton bounced into a double play.
Angels first baseman Justin Bour had an adventurous start to his day when he hit a liner into the corner in right in the first. Bour made a wide turn around first and Ben Zobrist threw behind him, but the ball went off Bour’s leg and into foul territory.
Bour got up and ran as catcher Willson Contreras made a strong throw to second. Umpire Marty Foster ruled Bour was safe, but the bigger slugger got up, started back to the dugout and then was tagged out by Báez .
“Clearly, he didn’t hear the call,” Ausmus said. “He didn’t know what the call was. And he said that he knew he was out.”
Angels: Ausmus said DH/RHP Shohei Ohtani (Tommy John surgery) hit off a machine Friday and threw at about 80 feet.
Cubs: Third base coach Brian Butterfield was out with an illness. Will Venable moved from first to third, and quality assurance coach Chris Denorfia stepped in at first.
Weather-permitting, Angels right-hander Trevor Cahill (1-1, 3.50 ERA) and Cubs right-hander Tyler Chatwood (0-0, 7.20 ERA) pitch Sunday in the series finale. But there is a mixture of rain and snow in the forecast.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
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