Skaggs tosses gem as Angels hold off Blue Jays

The Canadian Press
5/10/2014 5:22:59 PM
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TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons didn't hold his usual post-game availability with reporters after Toronto dropped a 5-3 decision to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday.

His brief quote issued through a team spokesman said it all.

"Skaggs was great -- he man-handled us," Gibbons said.

It was the first time Los Angeles pitcher Tyler Skaggs had started against Toronto and he didn't allow the Blue Jays to find their rhythm. The 22-year-old left-hander gave up a run in the first inning and then retired 21 straight batters.

Skaggs was pulled after giving up two singles in the ninth inning. The Blue Jays scored twice in the frame to make things interesting for the crowd of 31,412 at Rogers Centre.

Toronto (18-19) brought the potential winning run to the plate but reliever Joe Smith got pinch-hitter Adam Lind to hit into a game-ending double play.

Skaggs (3-1) gave up four hits and two earned runs over eight-plus innings of work.

"He pitched one heck of a game for us, took us into the ninth inning," said Angels acting manager Dino Ebel. "Can't say enough about the kid today."

Skaggs struck out four and didn't walk a batter. He threw 70 of his 103 pitches for strikes.

"He was missing our barrel," said Jays catcher Erik Kratz. "He did a good job of mixing his speeds a little bit but attacking with his fastball. He had some good movement on his fastball that kept us (hitting) ground balls, popups, ground balls, popups.

"Not a lot of hard hits today."

Smith earned his fourth save of the season. C.J. Cron hit his first career home run and Chris Iannetta added a two-run shot for the Angels, who knocked Toronto starter J.A. Happ (1-1) out of the game in the third inning.

"He just got hurt on a couple of balls in the middle of the plate or up," Kratz said. "He got behind in a few counts and they made him pay."

Los Angeles (18-17) has won two straight over Toronto. The teams will continue the four-game series on Sunday afternoon.

The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the first when slugger Jose Bautista reached base after Skaggs misplayed a comebacker. Edwin Encarnacion drove a double into the left-field corner that brought Bautista home.

Howie Kendrick hit a ground-rule double off Happ in the second inning and came around on a single by Cron. Iannetta made it a 3-1 game with his third homer of the season.

The Angels batted around in the frame and nearly broke the game wide open. Slugger Albert Pujols flew out to deep left field with the bases loaded for the final out.

Happ didn't fare much better in the third. He gave up a solo shot to Cron and was replaced by Todd Redmond after an Iannetta single.

"Obviously they're a great-hitting ballclub," Happ said. "We've got a lot of those in our division though too and throughout baseball. So you kind of put that out of your mind and try to pitch and try to execute.

"It certainly was frustrating today not being as sharp as I'd like."

Skaggs, meanwhile, was in complete control. Steve Tolleson finally got to him with a two-out double in the eighth inning but Chris Getz grounded out to strand him at second base.

Redmond did a nice job in long relief, allowing just one unearned run and five hits over 4 2-3 innings. Happ, meanwhile, allowed seven hits, four earned runs and a walk while striking out four.

Jose Reyes started the Toronto rally in the ninth with an infield single and Melky Cabrera followed with a single up the middle. Bautista hit another single to drive in Reyes.

Encarnacion hit a grounder that moved Cabrera to third but forced out Bautista at second base. Smith gave up another single to Dioner Navarro that brought Cabrera home.

Lind followed by hitting a comebacker to Smith and the Angels turned the double play for the win. The game took two hours 46 minutes to play.

Notes: Drew Hutchison (1-2) is scheduled to start for the Blue Jays on Sunday. The Angels will counter with fellow right-hander Jered Weaver (3-2). Toronto will close out its nine-game homestand next week with a three-game set against Cleveland ... Bautista has reached base safely in all 37 games this season. He's one away from Carlos Delgado's club record set in 1998. ... Ebel filled in for regular manager Mike Scioscia, who missed the first two games of the series to attend his daughter's college graduation. ... Former Blue Jays infielder John McDonald batted ninth for the Angels and played third base. ... It was the first home game this season that the Blue Jays didn't hit at least one home run. Toronto fell to 7-9 at home and has dropped six of its last nine games at Rogers Centre.

Tyler Skaggs  (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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