Defense, bullpen misfire late in series finale
Angels miss shot at four-game sweep after Wilson's solid start
ANAHEIM -- Prior to Sunday's series finale, manager Mike Scioscia was talking to reporters about the foundation of the Angels organization.
The foundation, Scioscia said, has always been pitching and defense, but in a season of recurring disappointments, the Angels "desperately" have needed to get back to it.
A few hours later, Scioscia sat in his office at Angel Stadium contemplating a 6-5 loss to Toronto in which the Angels' defense struggled and the pitching was unable to hold a late lead.
"Uncharacteristically for our clubs, we have lost more games on defense than I can remember," Scioscia said. "We got the plays, we just didn't make them."
Among the plays the Angels didn't make were a costly throwing error in the eighth inning and a pickoff where they didn't get the call in the decisive ninth.
With one out in the eighth and the Angels leading, 5-2, J.C. Gutierrez induced a potential double-play grounder from Edwin Encarnacion. However, the throw to second from third baseman Chris Nelson was off the mark and gave way to two runs in the inning.
In the ninth, clinging to a 5-4 lead, the Angels seemingly had Brett Lawrie picked off at second base, but when the rundown concluded, Lawrie was deemed safe at second -- a play that Scioscia came out to argue and that replays confirmed was called incorrectly.
"I don't think you're going to hang your hat on one call," Scioscia said. "You have to play at a high-enough level to absorb one call, and we didn't do it this afternoon."
While errors and a missed call ultimately led to the defeat, C.J. Wilson was not willing to think about what might have been.
"If I had different chromosomes, I'd maybe be playing a different sport or be a different gender or something," Wilson said after allowing four runs (three earned) in 7 1/3 innings. "You can 'if' your way all around life, but you can't 'if' your way into success in baseball. You have to overcome, and we didn't overcome our mistakes today."
Despite the blemishes, the Angels had a chance to win the game in the ninth, but for the fifth time in the past nine games, the bullpen blew a save.
After getting Colby Rasmus to pop up to conclude the eighth, Ernesto Frieri gave up a single to Lawrie to begin the ninth and hit J.P. Arencibia with a pitch to put runners on first and second with none out.
Frieri induced a flyout from Jose Reyes but, just a few days removed from blowing a pair of saves in Texas, was replaced by Dane De La Rosa.
"It's always frustrating whenever you go out there and they give you the chance to compete, to help the team to win and you don't do your job," Frieri said.
De La Rosa, the sixth of seven Angels pitchers used, relieved Frieri but gave up a game-tying single to Jose Bautista and a single to Encarnacion that gave the Blue Jays the lead.
"In the bullpen, we need to keep working, keep fighting and we need to get better," Frieri said.
Although the blown lead and defensive miscues leave a lasting image, the offense had another strong performance against Blue Jays starters.
On Thursday, the Angels tagged Josh Johnson for seven runs. On Friday, Todd Redmond allowed a trio of runs in a short outing. On Saturday, Esmil Rogers was charged with seven runs.
And on Sunday, Mark Buehrle allowed five runs on seven hits in six innings.
"He wasn't as sharp as he has been, but he was still effective," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He gave up some hits but the three-run homer was the big blow that ended up putting them up. But he's a survivor, he keeps you in the game, he eats up innings, he's doing a good job for us."
Mike Trout, who has reached base in 35 straight games, gave the Angels a 1-0 lead with a home run in the first inning.
On the strength of four consecutive singles, the Blue Jays took a 2-1 lead in the third, but the Angels struck for four in a fourth inning that was highlighted by Mark Trumbo's three-run home run.
Trumbo's 25th home run made him just the eighth Angel to hit 25 home runs in three consecutive seasons. He is the first Angel to do it in his first three seasons.