ANAHEIM, Calif. — A long crazy night ended on a sour note for the Blue Jays who fell to the Los Angeles Angels in the 14th inning.
Maicer Izturis finally ended the drama and drove in the winning run to produce a 6-5 victory for the Angels and end a game that took 5:06 to play.
With two out Peter Bourjos hit a line shot to left. Travis Snider slipped while turning for the ball allowing it to sail over his head. Izturis then drove a two-strike pitch off Jon Rauch to right for the game-winning run.
The game dragged on for so long that the Jays even managed to get clearance for Yunel Escobar to come in as a pinch hitter in the 13th. Escobar has missed the past two games due to a slight concussion when he was kneed in the head last Wednesday.
Escobar was promptly involved in a bizarre play that ended the 13th and prevented the Jays from scoring the go-ahead run.
With Adam Lind at third and Escobar at second and two out, Edwin Encarnacion hit a slow roller to third. Umpire Bob Davidson ruled Escobar interfered with Callaspo’s path to the ball and called him out as Callaspo’s throw to first was off the bag allowing Lind to jog home with what the Jays thought was the go-ahead run.
The bottom of the 13th was even more bizarre as the Angels had runners on first and third and nobody out. Vernon Wells then hit a shallow fly to left that Travis Snider raced in on and made a diving catch. Torii Hunter, who was on first, rounded second on the play and after the catch, remained at second and the Jays threw to first to double him off.
Reliever Shawn Camp intentionally walked Alberto Callaspo and with Brandon Wood at the plate, he whirled and caught Callaspo between first and second. Bobby Abreu then broke for home but was easily thrown out for the final out.
It was a game that the Jays could have won a lot earlier if they could have come up with a clutch hit at any time over the final five innings.
On the night the Jays left an astounding 18 runners on base — two shy of the club record — topped by the three they stranded in the 12th. With the bases loaded and on a 3-2 pitch, Jose Bautista failed to deliver as he sent a harmless fly to centre.
The Angels also blew a golden opportunity in the 11th as they had the bases loaded and one out and failed to clutch up.
But veteran right-hander Octavio Dotel got pinch hitter Hank Conger to ground to Aaron Hill who threw to home for the force and then struck out Jeff Mathis on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
It was also another rough outing for Jays starter Brett Cecil, whose velocity woes took a turn for the worse Saturday evening.
The Blue Jays left-hander was a basket case during spring training when up until his final start in Florida he was topping out at 86-87 m.p.h., instead of throwing 92-93.
In his final Florida start, however, Cecil pumped a lot of his heaters a 90-plus and all seemed to be on the right path.
But Saturday in his second start of the season, the velocity gains that he had made evaporated and Cecil was back throwing in the 86-88 range, touching 90 just once over the first three innings.
The end result was a ho-hum, lacklustre performance as Cecil, the No. 3 starter in the rotation, lasted five innings, the victim of five runs and 10 hits.
On top of the decrease in velocity, Cecil had trouble putting away hitters with two strikes and constantly left pitches up in the zone that the Angels rarely missed. It was a bad combination and the results were reflected on the scoreboard.
Cecil has made two starts, worked 10 innings, has a 7.20 ERA and has some work to do before his next start next Friday in Boston against the Red Sox.