TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays relied on their big bats in the first two games of their nine-game homestand.
The power game was minimized Friday and it proved costly in a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels that ended Toronto’s season-high five-game winning streak.
Angels leadoff man Erick Aybar tripled to open the ninth inning and scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly from Raul Ibanez. Ernesto Frieri earned his fourth save to end a choppy, mistake-filled game that at times was not pretty to watch.
Toronto’s bullpen struggled after a five-inning effort from starter Dustin McGowan. Sergio Santos left the game in the seventh with the bases loaded and Steve Delabar followed by walking in a run.
Brett Cecil (0-3) was uneven in the ninth as the Blue Jays fell back to the .500 mark.
“That’s where we’ve struggled this year — throwing strikes out of the bullpen,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons. “If they beat you, make them hit it to beat you.”
Toronto (18-18) pumped out 22 runs over its two-game mini-sweep of Philadelphia leading into the opener of a four-game series against the Angels. The Blue Jays scratched out runs where they could on this night, scoring twice on wild pitches and getting another run on a Jose Reyes solo homer.
McGowan was hit and miss on the mound and did well to escape with just two earned runs allowed. Santos breezed through the sixth inning but gave up a one-out double to Aybar in the seventh.
Aybar moved to third on a groundout and after an intentional walk to Albert Pujols and another walk to Ibanez, Delabar threw four straight balls to Howie Kendrick that were well out of the zone.
“It was one of those days where I thought it was right there,” Delabar said. “When I released the ball, I thought it was in the zone but it was nowhere close.”
Mike Trout hit his seventh homer of the season for Los Angeles (17-17). Aybar, meanwhile, was 3 for 5 and is hitting .397 over his last 15 games.
“He’s swinging the bat nice, he has confidence up there,” said acting Angels manager Dino Ebel. “He’s putting good wood on it and he wants to be the guy … hats off to him getting that big triple there in the ninth inning.”
Reyes had three hits and scored twice for the Blue Jays, who were outhit 9-7 in front of 21,383 spectators under the roof at Rogers Centre.
Los Angeles starter Garrett Richards was wild at times but turned in a solid performance overall, allowing five hits, two earned runs and two walks while striking out six.