video thumbnail

LAA@TOR: Trumbo breaks it open with a three-run shot

TORONTO -- Vernon Wells got them rolling with one big swing, and once that happened, the Angels clearly didn't want to stop.

Taking advantage of a layout he knows so well, Wells launched a solo homer in the second inning and an RBI double in the third, helping power the Angels to a 10-6 decision over the Blue Jays in front of 13,514 at Rogers Centre.

Backed by the muscle of Wells and Mark Trumbo, who drove in four runs with a homer and single, Joel Pineiro delivered a solid outing and moved to 7-7 with the win.

"Our offense can be the difference," Wells said. "Our pitching is still the best thing we have going. Our offense needs to be that difference. We're having our studs go on three days' rest. We need to support those guys any way we can. We need to do our job."

With the Red Sox falling to the Orioles, the Angels moved closer to the American League Wild Card berth -- 3 1/2 games off Boston's pace -- than they are to Texas in the AL West. The Rangers beat the Athletics in Oakland to maintain a five-game lead in the division.

One of the most productive players in Jays history, Wells hasn't had the season he anticipated with the Angels. But he's finishing strong with six homers, six doubles and three triples in the past 25 games.

"We've got to win games," Wells said. "However we do it -- whoever starts it or finishes it -- we've just got to win. We've got to hit with runners on. When we don't come through in RBI situations, we find ourselves on the losing end of ballgames."

Trumbo, the 6-foot-4 first baseman, took the baton from Wells, his three-run missile putting the finishing touches on a five-run fourth inning against young Kyle Drabek. That came on the heels of a three-run third, which chased starter Brett Cecil.

"That was big," Trumbo said of Wells' homer. "A guy like [Cecil], you have to be patient. Vernon did hit a fastball, but he mixed it up a lot. He threw me 3-0 and 3-1 changeups. Not very typical."

Drabek, a prize prospect, gave up five hits in an inning that ended with Wells just missing another homer to center.

"Hit it too high," Wells said.

The fourth featured Erick Aybar's double and steal of home on a failed squeeze bunt attempt. Aybar is 29 of 34 on theft attempts, an 85.3 percent success rate. Trumbo's bomb to left followed three singles and a sacrifice fly.

"He threw me a sinker, inside part of the plate," Trumbo said of Drabek. "I definitely hit it hard. He's got really good stuff, a power arm."

Wells' RBI double to right-center followed an RBI double by Howard Kendrick in the third. Trumbo also singled home a run against Cecil, who was charged with four earned runs on six hits in three innings.

Blue Jays manager John Farrell wasn't happy with Cecil's performance, demonstrated by the early hook.

"He would get into a count where he was down in the zone to get ahead and it was a mislocated fastball to Vernon, mislocated fastball to Trumbo on the double down the left-field line," Farrell said. "It was just the inconsistent location throughout the at-bats to where he had the inability to finish some guys off."

Trumbo used a few open-field moves to keep the inning alive for Wells' double, scrambling back to first in a rundown as Torii Hunter, at third, also deked first baseman Edwin Encarnacion.

Built more like a tight end than a running back, Trumbo has 87 RBIs to go with his 29 homers, enhancing his bid for the AL Rookie of the Year Award.

"I'm not one for accolades," Trumbo said. "What it means is I've had enough opportunities, at-bats, to put some numbers up."

Drabek departed after yielding another run in the sixth on doubles by Peter Bourjos and Alberto Callaspo, who had three hits, two RBIs and several sensational plays at third base.

Bourjos, busting out of a 1-for-22 skid, also had three hits, scoring twice. The Angels are 11-6 when Bourjos leads off, and 8-4 when he bats second.

Pineiro was down 1-0 after the first inning, and 2-1 after the second. But he settled in with his sinker and began racking up outs as the offense produced fireworks.

"It's been a tough year for me," Pineiro said. "I've got two starts left, and I want to go out and finish strong. Every game's going to be crucial for us.

"The offense came through and allowed me to attack the strike zone. I felt good. I was able to keep the ball down."

Consecutive singles by Mike McCoy and Eric Thames leading off the seventh ended Pineiro's night. Both runners scored, on Encarnacion's sacrifice fly and Kelly Johnson's RBI single against Rich Thompson. Pineiro was charged with four earned runs on nine hits and two walks in six innings.

A diving stab by Callaspo, robbing Brett Lawrie of extra bases, got the Angels a force at second as the third run of the inning came across. Striking out Colby Rasmus, Thompson turned it over to Bobby Cassevah for the eighth.

The Jays pushed across an unearned run in the ninth against Garrett Richards on a Trumbo error before Scott Downs -- another ex-Jay -- came on to strike out Rasmus.

"In our minds, yeah, definitely," Pineiro said when asked if his team was still alive and kicking. "We're not putting our heads down. We have to play our style of baseball -- small ball, good pitching and defense, to keep us in to the end."

MLB.com Comments