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Jays back in first place

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ANAHEIM, Calif.—The L.A. Angels were counting on Garrett Richards to keep the hot-hitting Toronto Blue Jays in check after a couple of one-sided losses by Hector Santiago and rookie Andrew Heaney.

But the hits kept on coming for the Jays, who pounded out 17 more yesterday in a 12-5 victory that completed a humiliating sweep of the reeling Angels.

Edwin Encarnacion went 4-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs—helping the Jays vault back into first place in the AL East.

Their 16th victory in 19 games, coupled with the N.Y. Yankees’ 4-3 loss to Cleveland, put Toronto atop the division for the first time since Aug. 13.

The Angels, meanwhile, now are 5.5 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West and 1.5 behind the Texas Rangers for the second AL Wild Card spot.

“There’s still a lot of confidence in that room,” Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia said after holding a lengthy closed-door meeting.

“We need to bring that confidence onto the field and play games like we can.

“They’re busting their butts and playing hard,” he added.

“All its going to take is one good game, hopefully playing like the way we can—on our terms—and moving forward from there.”

Toronto totalled 36 runs and 48 hits against a vanquished pitching staff that has surrendered 44 runs, 60 hits, and 15 walks over their last four games following Jered Weaver’s 1-0 victory over the White Sox back on Wednesday.

Garrett Richards (12-10) was charged with nine runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings against an offence that leads the majors with 670 runs and set a franchise record for a three-game series.

“With Toronto, you crack the door open and they take advantage. Their a good ballclub,” Scioscia said.

“I don’t think Garrett was as sharp this afternoon as he has been,” he noted.

“We had the lead [but] he couldn’t get his pitches into the zone.

“Garrett got into the sixth but our bullpen is running on fumes,” Scioscia added.

“Those guys have been pitching a lot.”

R.A. Dickey (8-10) won his fifth-straight decision over seven starts despite allowing five runs and 11 hits in six innings.

The knuckleballer overcame a 39-pitch first inning in which he gave up an RBI triple by Mike Trout, run-scoring hits by C.J. Cron and rookie Kaleb Cowart, and two sacrifice flies.

“I can’t remember a time in my big-league career where I gave up a five-spot in the first inning,” Dickey said.

“I was walking a tightrope and was in danger of getting pullled in my shortest outing ever as a big leagues.

“[But] I only walked one and I kept the ball in the ballpark,” he added. “And that saved me from it being a much shorter outing.”

Elsewhere in the AL, Minnesota edged Baltimore 4-3 (12 innings), Texas doubled Detroit 4-2, Kansas City beat Boston 8-6, Oakland dumped Tampa Bay 8-2, and Seattle topped Chicago 8-6.

In the NL, Washington beat Milwaukee 9-5, Arizona beat Cincinnati 4-0, Philadelphia blanked Miami 2-0, Chicago dumped Atlanta 9-3, New York downed Colorado 5-1, St. Louis pounded San Diego 10-3, and Pittsburgh downed San Francisco 5-2.

Houston nipped the L.A. Dodgers 3-2 (10 innings) in interleague play.

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