Angels are sent packing after loss to Blue Jays
Reporting from Toronto — The Angels’ 4 1/2-hour flight home from Toronto on Friday morning must have felt like their longest of the season.
It was probably their last.
After twice losing leads, the Angels eventually lost Thursday’s game to the Toronto Blue Jays on Edwin Encarnacion’s walk-off home run leading off the 12th inning, dealing a severe blow to their fading playoff hopes.
They had a chance to gain precious ground in the wild-card standings and the American League West, but instead they now trail Boston by three games in the first race and the Texas Rangers by five in the second with less than a week left in the season.
“We’ve got six games left,” closer Jordan Walden said. “We’ve got to win them all.”
The Rangers’ magic number in the division is two, meaning an Angels loss and a Texas win Friday would give the Rangers the title. Any combination of Boston wins and Angels losses equaling four would end the wild-card race. Unless, of course, Tampa Bay, which is also ahead of the Angels in the wild-card … never mind. It gets complicated after that.
The Angels have found a way to make it simple.
“We can’t lose any more games,” said Ervin Santana, who gave up two runs in six innings Thursday but had nothing to show for it. “We have to finish strong and see what happens.”
The Angels didn’t finish strong Thursday, getting two runners on base against five Toronto relievers who combined to retire 15 of the 17 batters they faced.
The Angels’ bullpen wasn’t quite as sharp. Bobby Cassevah, called on to protect a one-run lead in the seventh, walked the first man he faced, Jose Bautista, and allowed him to score the tying run on a wild pitch. Then again, Bautista wouldn’t have been on third had first baseman Mark Trumbo been able to handle Adam Lind’s hard-hit grounder that could have started a double play.
And though the Blue Jays threatened repeatedly over the final five innings, neither team scored again until Encarnacion lined Garrett Richards’ full-count slider over the left-field wall. It was the Angels’ 13th extra-inning loss of the season — no team in baseball has more — and their fifth loss on a 10-game trip that now looks as if it will be their last of the season.
“Some of those things you can’t change,” said second baseman Howie Kendrick, who had multiple hits for the third time in four starts, tripling in one run and scoring another. The Angels’ other run came on Alberto Callaspo’s second-inning homer.
“A loss is a loss. I’m not happy to lose at any time,” Kendrick continued. “They’re going to happen. It’s how you recover from it.”
Manager Mike Scioscia was trying to look forward as well.
“This game’s over,” he said. “We can’t do anything about tonight. We’re not looking back. We’re in this. We need to try to win every pitch. And hopefully it adds up to winning games.
“That is where our mind-set is.”
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