May 6, 2012
Blue Jays fall to Angels
By Ken Fidlin, QMI Agency
ANAHEIM - After a couple of dream pitching performances in a row, the Blue Jays plummeted to earth with a thud Saturday night.
Riding a scoreless pitching run of 22 innings and a four-game win streak, the Jays saw both go down the drain in a 6-2 Los Angeles Angels victory.
From opening day onward, Toronto’s defensive prowess has been its hallmark but this game turned into a bit of a fielding mess, producing a three errors - two of them by pitchers - and at least that many brain cramps that don’t show on the scoreboard.
After complete-game shutouts by Brandon Morrow and Henderson Alvarez in the first two games here, Kyle Drabek was touched up for five runs in five-plus innings Saturday. While he may not have been at his best, neither was the contribution of his defence.
“I just didn’t have my four-seam fastball tonight and it hurt me,” said Drabek.
Drabek was touched up for eight hits, including solo homers by Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo.
“Tonight he didn’t have his best command. He ran some pitch counts up but, still, he is in a 2-1 game in the sixth inning before it started to unravel on him,” said manager John Farrell.
“Defensively we didn’t take care of the ball in the middle and later innings where we contributed to a couple of their runs. Unfortunately, in this ballpark where runs are tough to come by the later you get, those runs really add up.”
Left-hander C.J. Wilson was sharp for the Angels, limiting the Jays to six hits and three walks over eight innings, allowing two earned runs for his fourth win of the season.
Jose Bautista drove in one of Toronto’s runs with a single, while Adam Lind belted his second home run.
After playing perhaps the best defence in the majors over the course of the season’s first month, the Jays probably deserve a mulligan on this one.
They will send young Drew Hutchison to the mound Sunday afternoon against Jerome Williams to try to secure the series victory, then head off to Oakland for the second stop on this 10-game road trip that will end next weekend in Minnesota.
After Drabek got out of a sticky situation with runners at first and third in the first inning to extend Toronto’s scoreless streak to 23 games, the Angels pushed across a run in the second to take a 1-0 lead and snap Toronto’s scoreless innings streak at 23.
Vernon Wells set the table with a one-out double off the wall in left. He later scored on catcher Bobby Wilson’s two-out line single into left.
Toronto responded in the top of the fourth when Kelly Johnson led off with an infield single, the Blue Jays’ first hit off Los Angeles starter C.J. Wilson. With Escobar at the plate, Johnson stole second then went to third on Escobar’s groundout to second base. Jose Bautista’s single into left field plated Johnson.
In the bottom of the fifth Angels’ outstanding rookie Mike Trout hit the first of what promises to be many home runs, drilling Drabek’s first pitch over the wall in centre.
It all came unravelled for Drabek in the sixth inning. Mark Trumbo greeted him with a long home run to centre. Wells, who came into the game with two walks all year, walked for the second time in the game, then advanced on Erick Aybar’s infield single. Wilson’s sacrifice bunt found an open hole in the inner defence and he loaded the bases, ending Drabek’s evening.
Jason Frasor then served up a long sacrifice fly to Trout that came within a few feet of a grand slam to make it 4-1. Frasor looked like he was out of the mess when Callaspo hit a groundball right back at the pitcher, who threw wildly to second in an attempt to start an inning-ending double play. That allowed a fifth run to score before Kendrick struck out to end the inning.
Toronto got a run back when Lind led off the seventh with his second homer.
“The home run was the most aggressive swing he’s taken in seven or eight days. It’s good to see,” said Farrell.
In the eighth, Edwin Encarnacion hit a ball that probably would have carried out of the park for a two-run homer a couple of hours earlier in the warmer air but Wells picked it off the top of the wall for an out.
“You get into the damp cool night, this becomes very much a pitcher’s ballpark,” said Farrell.
Los Angeles added an insurance run in the top of the ninth against Joel Carreno who, like Frasor, threw away a potential double-play ball at second base.
While he was critical of his team’s defence, Farrell stopped short of calling this his team’s sloppiest defensive game of the year.
“We weren’t sharp, I’ll say that,” he said.