Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jays’ road woes continue

ANAHEIM, Calif.—The Toronto Blue Jays are struggling so badly even when they get a huge break, they can’t capitalize on it.
Their first six batters went down in order against Jered Weaver, who had to leave after 24 pitches because of stiffness in his lower back.

But the Jays only got two harmless singles over the final four innings against five relievers and lost their fifth-straight game—a 5-2 setback to the L.A. Angels last night.
“We thought we finally caught a break when Weaver left but they shut us down,” noted Jays’ manager John Gibbons.
“Weaver’s different than he used to be and has a different style, but he’s still one of the toughest guys around,” Gibbons added.
“So you feel good when he comes out of the game.”
Juan Francisco hit his 14th home run for the Jays, who slipped three games behind AL East-leading Baltimore.
J.A. Happ (7-5) was charged with five runs, seven hits, and three walks in 4 1/3 innings.
“We’ve seen him do that before,” Gibbons said of Happ. “That’s where he gets into trouble, when he loses the strike zone.
“Every now and then, he’ll go through those stretches where it deserts him.
“He’s still got to throw it over the plate and take his chances, and let them hit a ball at somebody,” Gibbons reasoned.
The Angels grabbed a 5-2 lead in the fifth.
Chris Iannetta, who scored their first run in the third on Mike Trout’s groundout, started the four-run rally with a lead-off double that a fan touched near the top of the 18-foot wall in right-centre field.
Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia asked second base umpire Jim Wolf for a video review—hoping for a home run call he didn’t get.
Happ then walked the next two batters before Albert Pujols hit a bloop single to right-centre that tied the score.
It was his second bases-loaded hit in two days after starting the season 0-for-13 in those situations.
Josh Hamilton followed with a sacrifice fly before Howie Kendrick chased Happ with an RBI single through the box.
Erick Aybar then greeted Chad Jenkins with an RBI double on the right-hander’s first pitch.
The winning pitcher was Matt Shoemaker (7-2), who made 61 pitches in his emergency stint while allowing two runs and five hits through 3 2/3 innings.
The rookie right-hander had thrown 102 pitches last Thursday in a win over Houston.
“It was unbelievable,” Weaver said.
“You talk about trying to earn respect points, and Shoemaker definitely did that—going on three days’ rest.
“I mean, for him to step up and do what he did after not thinking he was going to pitch tonight was pretty spectacular,” Weaver added.
“That was an awesome job by him, mentally, and you saw the way the rest of the bullpen came in and shut the door against a pretty good lineup.”
The Angels’ recently-acquired veteran duo of Joe Thatcher and Jason Grilli helped piece it together with Kevin Jepsen and Joe Smith, who got three outs for his 11th save.
The Angels, meanwhile, extended their home winning streak to 11 games—one shy of the franchise record set in 1967 (their second season in Anaheim).
They are 16 games over .500 for the first time since ending the 2012 season at 89-73 but remain 3.5 games behind AL West-leading Oakland.
Elsewhere in the AL, Seattle blanked Minnesota 2-0, New York beat Cleveland 5-3, Chicago downed Boston 4-0, Kansas City dumped Tampa Bay 6-0, and Houston topped Texas 12-7.
Over in the NL, New York edged Atlanta 4-3 (11 innings), Cincinnati dumped Chicago 9-3, Philadelphia nipped Milwaukee 3-2, St. Louis blanked Pittsburgh 2-0, San Diego beat Colorado 6-1, and Arizona downed Miami 6-1.

More stories