TORONTO – The Los Angeles Angels are stumbling into their showdown with first-place Texas.
Hisanori Takahashi surrendered Edwin Encarnacion’s game-ending RBI single in the 10th inning and the Angels lost, 5-4, to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.
“Not a good road trip,” Angels outfielder Torii Hunter said of the 2-4 swing through New York and Toronto. “We’ll just have to try and bounce back, starting tomorrow.”
Yunel Escobar walked to begin the 10th against Fernando Rodney (2-5). Mark Teahen struck out and Jose Bautista walked before Takahashi came on to retire Adam Lind on a popup. Encarnacion followed with a base hit up the alley in left-center, scoring Escobar with the winner as Encarnacion’s teammates ran out and mobbed him at second base.
“He feels very good at the plate and is obviously seeing the ball well,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of Encarnacion, who is on a season-high 13-game hitting streak. “He’s not expanding the strike zone, he’s getting good pitches to hit, and he has done an excellent job for us.”
Bautista hit his major league-leading 34th homer and Eric Thames also connected for Toronto, which had lost six of 10 coming in.
Jon Rauch (5-3) pitched one inning for the Blue Jays to get the win.
Los Angeles returns home today to open a four-game series against the American League West-leading Texas Rangers.
“It’s make or break here coming up,” Angels starter Dan Haren said. “This is probably one of the toughest stretches of our schedule.”
The defeat was the fifth time this season Los Angeles has lost when leading after eight innings.
“We feel that if we get leads on a consistent basis, we’re going to hold them,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Our issue has been the margins by which we’ve been getting leads late has been very, very tight. With deep offenses, that one-run lead in the eighth or ninth puts a lot of pressure on guys.”