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Angels leave gloves in U.S.

Times Staff Writer

TORONTO -- In your scorebook, 1-2-4 indicates a freak play. On the scoreboard, 1-2-4 indicates a freak game.

Or so the Angels can hope, after a defensive horror show Manager Mike Scioscia called “disturbing” and “terrible.” When you’re in the fifth inning, and your scoreboard totals read one run, two hits and four errors, this is not your night.

And, when Roy Halladay is pitching for the other guys, forget it. Halladay pitched a five-hitter for his fifth complete game, leading the Toronto Blue Jays to a 4-1 victory over the Angels in the Rogers Centre on Tuesday.

There is no shame in losing to Halladay, a four-time All-Star. There is plenty of shame in making four errors, plus a poor play that could have been a fifth.

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“The combination was about as bad as I’ve seen it,” Scioscia said. “It was just a terrible ballgame defensively.”

The Angels committed all four errors in the first four innings. With two more, they would have tied the club record for errors in a game. They missed that too.

Erick Aybar, playing shortstop so Scioscia could give Orlando Cabrera a day off that Cabrera did not want, booted a double-play ball and threw another ground ball away. Third baseman Chone Figgins made a throwing error. Catcher Jeff Mathis dropped a throw.

And, after pitcher Joe Saunders had John McDonald picked off, first baseman Casey Kotchman threw the ball into center field, and McDonald was safe at second.

“The way we played, especially on the defensive end, was disturbing,” Scioscia said.

Yet Scioscia said he did not hold a postgame meeting to lecture his team.

“Nobody in that room thought we played well,” he said. “The mistakes were very obvious.”

Aybar walked away from reporters after one question, walking away even as he delivered a terse answer. Yet Saunders, the victim of the errors, stood up for the rookie.

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“He’s an unbelievable shortstop,” Saunders said.

The Angels grabbed a 1-0 lead three batters into the game, when Vladimir Guerrero singled home Figgins. In the bottom of the inning, neither Saunders nor his defenders were very good.

Reed Johnson tripled, Lyle Overbay singled him home and Alex Rios singled too. Vernon Wells then hit what appeared to be a double-play grounder to short and Frank Thomas followed with a fly ball, so the inning should have ended with the score tied, 1-1.

But Aybar’s error enabled Wells to reach base, loading the bases, and Thomas’ fly ball thus became a sacrifice fly. Aaron Hill doubled home a third run.

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Gregg Zaun then grounded to third base, with Wells running on contact and apparently dead. But Mathis dropped the throw, and Wells scrambled back to third, from where he scored on another sacrifice fly.

“Just fumbled it,” Mathis said.

The Angels did not put another man into scoring position, and Halladay (14-5) disposed of them in 1 hour 58 minutes. Saunders rebounded nicely, pitching six more innings without giving up another run, yet took his first loss this season after six victories.

Never did Saunders point a finger at his defenders, either on the field or in his postgame comments.

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“They’re human,” he said. “They have bad games. Lord knows I have bad games. For me to show them up just wouldn’t be right. It wouldn’t be fair.”

bill.shaikin@latimes.com


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