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LAA@TOR: Angels fall to Jays in walk-off fashion

TORONTO -- Five innings earlier, from right field, Torii Hunter gunned down a baserunner with a play the late, great Roberto Clemente would have applauded.

Now it was the bottom of the 10th, Hunter having moved in to join a five-man infield, and he needed to make a play along the lines of another Hall of Famer, Roberto Alomar, in the dome he once called home.

"I've only made two throws like that my whole career," Hunter said. "It had to be perfect."

It wasn't, and the Angels dropped a 3-2 decision to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre that brought the Halos one step closer to the offseason.

Moving to his left and dealing with the moving parts of a baserunner and first baseman Mark Trumbo, Hunter gathered Adam Lind's grounder and quickly unleashed a throw that sailed to the right of catcher Jeff Mathis, allowing Mike McCoy to score the winning run.

The Angels fell five games behind idle Texas with nine left, dropping the Rangers' magic number to five, and also lost ground in the Wild Card chase with Boston and Tampa Bay.

The walk-off run was unearned, like the first two Blue Jays runs against starter Jerome Williams.

Shortstop Erick Aybar committed a throwing error on McCoy's leadoff grounder, and a potential double-play grounder by Jose Bautista turned into a force when Howard Kendrick was unable to handle Maicer Izturis' throw cleanly from third base.

"That's a double play our guys usually turn blindfolded," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "As for the last play, Torii was screened to catch that ball and crow-hopped a throw home.

"There were some things on the defensive side that eventually swung the momentum of the game to their side, starting with Jerome and his throw to second. He needed to plant his feet and get an out [at first]."

That play by Williams, making his fifth start for the Angels, developed in the fourth inning between homers by Hunter in the second and Trumbo in the fifth against Blue Jays All-Star southpaw Ricky Romero.

Having walked leadoff man Edwin Encarnacion, Williams barehanded Kelly Johnson's bouncer and elected to go for a double play. His off-balance throw was wide of Aybar covering second for an error.

"It sailed on me," Williams said. "I was moving towards third. I've made it numerous times this year. Looking back on that, I should have set my feet and got the sure out."

Catcher J.P. Arencibia hit a carpet-hugging grounder between first and second for a two-run single.

"It was down, where I wanted it," Williams said. "I thought it was a good pitch."

The Angels couldn't do anything with Romero after Trumbo's majestic drive to center, his 28th, leading off the fifth. Hunter's 21st homer had landed close to the same location.

"I was praying," Hunter said. "I was trying to get something up and out over the plate. Anything middle in was going to cut back -- two-seamer, cutter, curveball. He was on top of his game tonight."

"I got something up and was able to get extended," Trumbo said of Romero, who had won eight of his previous 10 starts with one loss. "He was really tough. It's hard to believe the guy has lost 10 games with his stuff."

Going nine innings, Romero's bid for his 16th win ended when Scott Downs got out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth. With runners at second and third and one out, the lefty struck out pinch-hitter Jose Molina, the ex-Angel, and retired Arencibia on a line drive to Hunter in right.

"The two fastballs up to both Hunter and Trumbo got [away] from him," Jays manager John Farrell said of Romero. "[Those] were the only two blemishes on what was otherwise an outstanding nine-inning performance on his part."

Vernon Wells, back in his old stomping grounds, doubled halfway up the center-field wall leading off the 10th against Casey Janssen but advanced no farther than third. Janssen struck out Aybar for the second out and retired pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo on a groundout.

After McCoy reached, Eric Thames stroked his third hit of the game. Bautista, the AL leader in homers and slugging percentage, then hit the ground ball to Izturis.

"It was a poor feed by Izzy," Scioscia said. "Izzy's got as accurate an arm as you'll find. He got the throw down and Howie had trouble with the transfer."

Kendrick, who has played Gold Glove defense all year, accepted responsibility.

"I still should have made that play," Kendrick said. "I've got to catch that ball and throw it. I tried to be quick and get that next out. Sometimes you make mistakes being too aggressive.

"It's a big game, and that's a big double play we didn't make."

The win went to Janssen, moving to 6-0, with Downs (3-6) taking the loss.

Hunter took it hard. He'd made a big play behind Williams in the fifth when Thames slammed a hit past first that rolled toward the corner in right. Hunter got there and made a whirling throw to nail Thames at second for his career-high 15th assist.

The one that got away in the 10th had the nine-time Gold Glove outfielder slumped at his locker 30 minutes after the game, dejected.

"It's a tough play, my momentum carrying me to my left," Hunter said. "It wouldn't let me set my feet. I saw the replay and didn't have time to get set. [McCoy] went on contact. The throw was to Mathis' right."

In Texas, they celebrated this Blue Jays moment.

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