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Jays' ninth-inning rally averts sweep by Angels

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Toronto Blue Jays were one out away from yet another disappointing loss in a season full of them.

On the verge of being swept in a four-game series by the Los Angeles Angels, the Blue Jays got a game-tying single from Jose Bautista and then a go-ahead single from Edwin Encarnacion on the way to a 6-5 win Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium.

The Blue Jays (51-60) trailed 5-2 going into the eighth inning, but they scored two runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth to avoid falling 11 games under .500 for the third time this season.

"Obviously we're not playing the best baseball," said Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle, who gave up five runs and seven hits in six innings. "We're not out of it, but you look at where we're at and where the rest of the league's at, and it's not looking good, so you want to see guys battle. ...

"No one's giving up. We have to finish this season up whether we're out of it or not out of it. We've got to go out there and finish out the last couple of months, so (the comeback) was good to see."

The Angels built their lead thanks to a three-run homer by Mark Trumbo, a solo homer by Mike Trout and a solid outing by starting pitcher C.J. Wilson.

Wilson gave up a couple of singles in the eighth inning and was taken out of the game with the Angels still leading 5-2. It took four Angels relievers -- J.C. Gutierrez, Nick Maronde, Michael Kohn and Ernesto Frieri -- to get out of the inning, but not before the Blue Jays sliced the deficit to 5-4, thanks in part to an error by third baseman Chris Nelson, one of three Angels errors in the game.

Frieri (0-4) found trouble in the ninth as well, as the Blue Jays put the first two batters of the inning on base, but the Angels seemed to have made a big play when catcher Chris Iannetta picked off Brett Lawrie at second base. Lawrie was caught in a rundown and appeared to be tagged out trying to get back to second base. However, second base umpire Brian Knight ruled that Lawrie made it back to base safely.

It turned out to be a big call because the game-tying and go-ahead hits from Bautista and Encarnacion came with two outs against Dane De La Rosa.

"You have to play at a high enough level to absorb a call you might not get," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Those guys took advantage of it. We didn't do enough things well. We didn't get outs on a couple plays we should have, and we threw one away at third base."

Frieri got what seemed would be a key out when he retired Jose Reyes on a flyout to right field for the first out of the inning. Scioscia then took his closer out of the game in favor of De La Rosa, who got Rajai Davis to hit into a fielder's choice for the second.

De La Rosa got ahead in the count on Bautista, but Bautista singled to left field to drive in the tying run. Encarnacion followed with an RBI single on a 2-0 count to put the Blue Jays up 6-5.

"When I got to 2-0, I thought there were going to put me on first base," Encarnacion said when asked if he were surprised the Angels didn't intentionally walk him. "But I put in my mind to be aggressive, and I got a fastball."

Buehrle entered the game with a streak of 20 consecutive scoreless innings, but it ended on Trout's homer in the first inning. Trout has reached base safely in 35 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the American League.

Wilson gave up four runs (three earned) and eight hits in 7 2/3 innings, leaving with a lead and missing out on getting his 12th win of the season.

Casey Janssen pitched the bottom of the ninth for Toronto and earned his 19th save. Brett Cecil (5-1), one of three Blue Jays relievers, earned the win.

NOTES: Angels OF Josh Hamilton was not in the starting lineup against Buehrle, a lefty. Hamilton is hitting .172 (20-for-116) vs. lefties this season. Hamilton pinch-hit in the ninth inning and flied out to end the game. ... Angels LHP Jason Vargas is tentatively scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Thursday. Vargas, out since June 17 because of a blood clot in his left armpit area, likely would need two rehab starts before returning to the rotation, putting him on track to be back in about two weeks. ... Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie, who singled in the ninth inning, has hit safely in seven straight games and 10 of 13. In those 13 games, he is hitting .311 (14-or-45) with three homers and eight RBIs. ... Blue Jays RHP J.A. Happ is expected to rejoin the rotation and start Wednesday's game against the Seattle Mariners. Happ, who has been out since early May after being hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Tampa Bay Rays OF Desmond Jennings, has made three rehab starts in the minors.
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