In many ways, watching yesterday’s game between the Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland Indians was akin to watching paint dry.

Jeff Mathis hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Torii Hunter and giving the Angels a 4-3 win over the Indians in 16 innings, averting a sweep against one of the worst teams in the American League.

In a game that lasted 4 hours and 57 minutes, the Angels managed only six hits against eight Indians pitchers, while the Tribe stranded 16 total baserunners.

As much as manager Mike Scioscia enjoyed the win, he lamented the inability of his team to capitalize earlier in the contest. 

“On the offensive side, again, it was like root canal,” said Scioscia. “We were grinding it out, and some things were a little painful.

“We had a lot of opportunities, and we couldn’t execute some little things that would have made it easier to win the game earlier.”

Angels starter Scott Kazmir was actually effective in this one, going six innings and giving up just two hits and one run while striking out six.

Mike Napoli and Peter Bourjos connected for home runs in back-to-back innings off Indians starter Josh Tomlin, with Bourjos’ round-tripper giving the Angels a 3-1 lead after six.

The Angels bullpen was unable to hold on though, as the Indians clawed back with single runs in the seventh and ninth to send this game to extra innings. Andy Marte homered off Jordan Walden in the seventh, and closer Fernando Rodney allowed three singles in the ninth, the final one driving home the tying run.

The Angels had a golden opportunity to win it in the bottom of the ninth. Alberto Callaspo singled, and Mike Napoli followed with a walk, putting runners at first and second with one out.

After an Erick Aybar groundout moved the runners ahead, Indians reliever Joe Smith threw a pitch that got by catcher Lou Marson. Callaspo broke for home and appeared to have Marson’s toss to Smith at the plate beaten. However, Callaspo attempted a hook slide and completely missed home plate and was tagged out on the play.

Had Callaspo slid straight to the plate, he would have been safe, giving the Angels a regulation victory.

The Angels had chances in the 10th and 11th innings as well, with Indians center fielder Michael Brantley robbing Torii Hunter of a homer with a leaping grab at the fence in the 10th and catcher Jeff Mathis botching a suicide squeeze attempt by popping up in the 11th.

Mathis redeemed himself with his sacrifice in the 16th. “The pitch was down and away, but it’s a pitch I’ve gotten down before, and one I should have gotten down tonight,” Mathis said. “I’m glad I got a second chance, for sure.”

You can follow Doug Mead on Twitter @desertdesperado.

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