TORONTO — Perhaps a change of scenery is just what the Toronto Blue Jays need right now.
A dismal 1-6 homestand was capped Thursday afternoon with an 8-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. The Blue Jays (23-27) have dropped nine of 11 games overall and 14 of their last 18 games at Rogers Centre.
The players packed up right after the latest loss for a flight to Philadelphia ahead of a nine-game road trip.
“I’m ready to get on the road, there’s no doubt,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons. “This was a brutal homestand for us.”
Mike Trout hit his team-leading 15th home run and starter Nick Tropeano was solid over 7 1/3 innings as Los Angeles took the rubber game of the three-game set.
Albert Pujols also homered for the Angels (28-22) while Martin Maldonado had two hits and drove in three runs. Los Angeles is a majors-best 16-5 on the road this season.
“We pressured them all afternoon,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. “You get 15 chances with guys in scoring position, that’s good. We did a lot of good things out there.”
The retractable roof was open on a glorious spring afternoon but the Blue Jays gave the 43,344 spectators little to cheer about.
Dwight Smith Jr., provided one of the few Toronto highlights with his first career homer. The Angels outhit the Blue Jays 12-5.
Toronto is winless in its last seven series (0-5-2).
“We’re not putting complete games together and that’s a recipe for not having success,” said Blue Jays slugger Josh Donaldson, who had one hit and two strikeouts.
The Angels struck early with two runs in the second inning off Toronto starter Marco Estrada.
Two-way star Shohei Ohtani drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a double by Andrelton Simmons. Both runners scored on a Maldonado single.
Los Angeles tacked on another run in the third as Pujols drove in Justin Upton with an RBI single.
Trout hit a rainbow solo shot in the fifth inning that appeared to hit the top of the wall in left-centre field before bouncing out.
Estrada (2-5) was pulled a couple batters later. He gave up seven hits, four earned runs and two walks while striking out one.
“I elevated (pitches) when I wasn’t really trying to, I was leaving the ball mostly in the middle,” he said. “So plain and simple I just sucked today.”
Tropeano (2-3), meanwhile, allowed one earned run, four hits and a walk. He tied a season-high with six strikeouts.
Los Angeles tacked on insurance runs in the seventh and eighth innings. Pujols added a no-doubt blast in the Angels’ two-run ninth for his seventh homer of the year.