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LAA@TOR: Haren limits Jays over eight stellar frames

TORONTO -- Dan Haren considered himself the luckiest man on the face of North American soil. Or something to that affect.

The imprint of a baseball seam was visible on the inside of his left wrist late Wednesday night. But a Blue Jays team physician armed with a clean Fluoroscan assured him there was no structural damage, and he could go celebrate a 7-2 victory powered by Peter Bourjos and Vernon Wells that kept the Angels thinking positive postseason thoughts.

"I think I've been lucky," Haren said, having been struck by a wicked line drive on the arm for the second time as an Angel, this one off the bat of the Jays' Eric Thames on his final pitch of an eight-inning gem.

"When I first got hit," Haren said, "I was in a pretty good deal of pain. Your initial reaction is you're scared you broke something."

Haren went down to the carpet next to the mound at Rogers Centre, in visible agony. Soon the pain subsided, lifting his spirits.

"After a few seconds, feeling came back in the hand, and I could tell I was going to be all right," he said. "It definitely hurt. He smoked it. I didn't even see it. I had no idea where the ball went. It happened so fast."

The ball caromed to Maicer Izturis at second base for an out, and Haren, with what would be described as a left wrist contusion, walked off the field.

When Hisanori Takahashi got the last three outs, the Jays scoring once, Haren had matched a career high with his 16th win.

The Angels' best shot at October now rests with hurdling the Red Sox and Rays and claiming the American League Wild Card. They're even with Tampa Bay, while trailing Boston by 2 1/2 games with seven left. Texas is cruising home in the AL West.

"We've got a lot of ground to make up in a short period of time," Haren said. "Everyone says they don't pay attention, but we know how far away we are in both races.

"Obviously, at this point, two games sounds a lot better than three. Win [Thursday night behind Ervin Santana] and we'll fly home energized, for sure."

Three-game series with the A's and Rangers await the Angels at home after they wrap up their road schedule.

All season it's been Rangers-Angels, Angels-Rangers. Now there's a different avenue available.

"It's nice to kind of forget about the Rangers," Bourjos said. "The Wild Card is the best bet now. We have to go out and win every game, take it day by day."

Bourjos (homer, triple, single) and Wells (homer, single) formed a two-man wrecking crew, combining to drive in five runs (four by Wells) and score four times (three by Bourjos). Izturis (three hits, two RBIs) also had a big game.

"We've had pretty good tunnel vision," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're in position to give ourselves a chance. We need help, but you can't get too complicated. Whatever happens on a given night, whether we gain ground or stay the same, we need to keep winning."

The Angels have taken 20 of their past 31 assignments, gathering momentum the past two nights after losing two of three in Baltimore and the series opener against the Jays.

"We could have easily folded," Haren said. "But we stayed together, the way we have all year, and played good baseball."

Haren, scheduled to start Monday against the Rangers, took a similar shot off his right forearm in his Angels debut in July 2010, having arrived in a five-player swap with Arizona. He departed after Boston's Kevin Youkilis drilled his pitching arm, he but didn't miss a start.

"Youkilis' ball was probably two inches from my elbow," Haren said. "This one, one or two inches either way, could have hit bone. It got a meaty area. I'm lucky."

Bourjos came through with his second straight three-hit game. He showcased his blinding speed with his 10th triple and 22nd stolen base, his surprising power (solo homer, No. 12) and his defensive wizardry. He robbed Dan Cooper of extra bases at the wall in center, and fittingly ran down J.P. Arencibia's drive to right center for the last out.

Bourjos was the offensive catalyst, scoring on Izturis' single after his triple to the left-center gap in the third against Dustin McGowan (0-1) and homering to left-center two innings later.

"Couple of pitches up in the zone to Bourjos, who put on some kind of show tonight both offensively and defensively," Jays manager John Farrell said.

Wells' four-RBI night included a two-run single in the sixth and a laser to right-center for his 24th homer, and second in two nights, in the eighth.

McGowan gave way to Jesse Litsch in the sixth, and the Angels went to work.

Alberto Callaspo was given a free pass following doubles by Torii Hunter and Mark Trumbo. Wells slashed a single through the left side.

"I understand the move, righty against righty," Wells said. "I'm just looking to put the ball in play there, hit it hard somewhere. We have to come through in those situations."

His homer against Casey Janssen followed Callaspo's infield hit. Bourjos singled, stole second and scored on Izturis' third hit.

Haren lost his shutout bid in the bottom of the sixth on Thames' 11th homer.

Bourjos' triple gave him an unprecedented achievement in Angels history. He became the first player to reach at least 25 doubles, 10 homers, 10 triples and 20 steals. The Yankees' Curtis Granderson is the only other player in the Majors to match that quadruple-double this season.

"Pretty good company," Bourjos said, beaming. Comments