The Angels will look to bounce back from a disappointing loss as they conclude a three-game home series with the Blue Jays.
Anaheim has won 14 of its last 19 games to pull within 1 1/2 games of the first-place A’s. The Angels, who haven’t led the division outright since June 7, missed out on a chance to move even closer to Oakland on Wednesday.
Anaheim had won four straight, but failed to take advantage of Oakland’s fourth straight loss, an 8-3 setback to Boston on Wednesday, suffering a 1-0 defeat to the Blue Jays.
“That was a tough loss for us,” Angels outfielder Jose Guillen said. “This was a game that was going to put us closer, and we had extra motivation watching Oakland losing to Boston. But I think people in our dugout was watching what Oakland and Boston were doing and not worrying about ourselves and what was going on here.”
Toronto first baseman Carlos Delgado provided the only offense with an RBI double in the first inning.
Blue Jays starter Justin Miller allowed two hits over eight innings to outpitch Kelvim Escobar. Escobar allowed a run and five hits in eight innings and set a career high with 12 strikeouts, pushing his season total to a career-best 162.
But it wasn’t enough.
The Angels will try to get their offense back on track against Blue Jays left-hander Ted Lilly.
Lilly has pitched well against Anaheim, going 4-2 with a 3.03 ERA in seven career starts. The southpaw has hit a rough patch of late, however. Lilly has given up 12 runs and 15 hits over 11 1-3 innings in back-to-back losses to the New York Yankees and Oakland, respectively.
The Angels are trying to make the playoffs for the second time in three seasons after winning the World Series in 2002.
The Blue Jays, who were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention with Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to Anaheim, haven’t played a postseason game since winning the 1993 World Series on Joe Carter’s walk-off three-run homer against Philadelphia’s Mitch Williams.