TORONTO ó Vladimir Guerrero outslugged the entire Toronto Blue Jays offence Wednesday night.
The Los Angeles designated hitter broke out of a prolonged power slump in a big way, drilling two long home runs off starter Shaun Marcum and accounted for all the scoring in the Angelsí 4-3 win over the Blue Jays.
Marcum, who left after six and two-thirds, got into danger by issuing back-to-back walks to Chone Figgins and Gary Matthews Jr. with one out in the third. Guerrero, who entered the game 2-for-6 lifetime against Marcum, stepped to the plate and crushed the first pitch he saw over the wall in left field for a three-run homer, his second of the night, to extend the lead to 4-1.
Guerrero, an eight-time 30-home-run hitter, entered the game with just one home run in his previous 22 games. His first multi-homer game of the season gives him six on the year.
Though far from dominant, Angels starter Jon Garland (5-3) earned the win and is 6-0 lifetime in Toronto. Los Angeles, which leads the West Division, has won the first two contests of this three-game set which concludes tomorrow.
After hurling 58 pitches through the first three innings and falling behind 4-1, Marcum (4-3) found his rhythm and retired 12 in a row at one point. However, the Blue Jays offence couldnít quite make up the deficit despite finishing with 11 hits.
The table was set in the seventh as Aaron Hill stood at third and Alex Rios at first with none out and the Jays (23-25) down by one. But reliever Jose Arredondo wiggled out of his own jam by whiffing clean-up hitter Scott Rolen, then inducing Frederictonís Matt Stairs to hit into a double play after a long battle.
The 20,163 in attendance were hopeful again in the eighth when Shannon Stewart and Gregg Zaun reached base with one out, only to see Marco Scutaro waste another promising opportunity with a double play.
Closer Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his major-league-leading 19th save.
Toronto wouldnít have been trailing in the late innings had it been able to come up with a timely hit in the fifth or sixth. After scoring single runs in each inning, the Jays left two men on base each time to kill the rallies.
Toronto made it 4-2 in the fifth when Rios, mired in a 13-for-79 streak entering the game, came through with a two-out, opposite-field single to score Scutaro from second. Rolen then grounded to short to kill the threat. Hill preceded Riosís hit with a hard single, extending his hitting streak to a season-high nine games.
It appeared as thought the Jays were getting to Garland in the sixth, as even their outs were noisy. Zaun drove a hard grounder off the pitcher that caromed to the outfield between second and third, cashing Lyle Overbay from second. The inning ended when Brad Wilkersonís liner was grabbed on a nice play by first baseman Sean Rodriguez.
The Jaysí first run came in the bottom of the first after Guerreroís homer in the top half of the inning staked the Angels (28-20) to a 1-0 lead.
Rios, who had a pair of singles in the game, drew a two-out walk and eventually came around to score on a Stairs single to right.
The loss dropped the Jaysí home record to 10-11 this season.
Notes: Originally expected to come off the disabled list tomorrow, Jays shortstop David Eckstein was tender in his first rehab assignment with class A Dunedin on Monday night and will remain out of the lineup for at least the next couple of days with a strained right hip flexor. Figgins was playing his first game since coming off the 15-day DL for Anaheim. ... The only duelling going on early in the game between Marcum and Garland was to determine whose arm could endure more abuse. Both pitchers hit the 50-pitch barrier by the end of three innings.