Donaldson has 6 RBIs as Blue Jays rout Angels
ANAHEIM -- Josh Donaldson continued to look every bit like an MVP, while Mike Trout struggled again, as the Blue Jays blew out the Angels for a second straight night -- taking Saturday's game at Angel Stadium, 15-3. The Jays pounded out 20 hits, their Nos. 2-5 hitters all had multihit, multi-RBI games.
The Blue Jays remained a half-game behind the Yankees in the American League East, and they lead in the AL Wild Card race by 4 1/2 games over the Rangers, who took over the second slot from the Angels. The Halos now trail Texas by a half-game.
"Right now, we have to, in-house, circle our wagons and get our game in order," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Donaldson led the charge for Toronto, going 4-for-5 with six RBIs and coming within a triple of hitting for the cycle, drawing scattered "MVP" chants. His three-run homer off Angels rookie left-hander Andrew Heaney in the third inning opened the scoring, and his two-run single in the fourth helped break the game open completely.
Trout, on the other hand, went hitless in three at-bats and struck out twice, leaving him 0-for-6 with four strikeouts in the series. Donaldson is a combined 6-for-7 with four extra-base hits and nine RBIs.
"Especially the last week or so, I feel like every time I'm coming up I have someone in scoring position or someone on base," Donaldson said. "We have some guys, especially at the bottom of the lineup, that can run a little bit so that helps."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bringer of rain: Donaldson's homer, his 34th of the year, was projected by Statcast™ to travel 406 feet after leaving his bat at 106 mph. Toronto's slugging third baseman has picked his spots well this year, with 23 of his homers having either tied the game or given the Blue Jays the lead. All but six of his Major League-leading 100 RBIs have come while playing third base, which gives him the fourth-highest single-season total for a third baseman in club history.
"You look at it, you have Jose Bautista, one of the most feared hitters in baseball right behind me," Donaldson said. "Then you have Edwin Encarnacion, another guy who hits balls really far. It's tough, it's one of those things where, as a pitcher, you have to be on your game because we have a lot of guys who can do some damage." More >
No. 1 for Cowart: Angels rookie third baseman Kaleb Cowart finally got his first Major League hit, and it was a home run. With his parents, girlfriend and their families in the stands, Cowart turned on a fifth-inning, 80-mph changeup from Marco Estrada and launched it over the high wall in right-center field. Cowart, the Angels' No. 12 prospect, was called up for his defense, and he had been hitless in his first 14 big-league at-bats. This was his fifth game in the Majors.
"It was a great moment. It felt pretty good, like a home run usually does," Cowart said. "There's a lot of pressure coming in trying to get that first knock, and I'm just happy to get it out of the way." More >
Everybody gets a turn: For the second consecutive night, the Blue Jays used a bat-around inning to put the game on ice early. This time it happened in the fourth, as Toronto registered six hits and three walks to score at least seven runs in an inning for the fourth time this season. Donaldson had a two-run single, Bautista added a two-run triple while Encarnacion and Cliff Pennington had sacrifice flies. Later in the game, Chris Colabello also got in on the fun with a two-run shot to center, his 12th homer of the year.
"To be honest with you, 15 runs is extreme, but we've been doing it all year," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We've had big outbursts, we have a really good offense, top to bottom. That's the way it goes sometimes. It's a comforting feeling, no doubt about it."
Heaney lit up: Donaldson's home run was just the tip of the iceberg for Heaney, who was charged with eight earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. In his 10 previous starts since being called up on June 24, Heaney had allowed two runs or fewer nine times. His start on Saturday raised his ERA almost a full point, from 2.43 to 3.39.
"For me, it's embarrassing," Heaney said. "I don't like going out there and feeling out of control, feeling like I didn't do anything to help the team, and then ending up taxing an already-taxed bullpen. It's frustrating. It's irritating. It's whatever word you want to use -- that's how I'm feeling right now."
"It's pretty easy for me to figure what he can do. He's the best in the league so far, by far the MVP so far this year. If anybody doesn't think that, they're a fool." -- Bautista, on Donaldson
"If we're just waiting for Mike and Albert [Pujols] to do this, it's not gonna happen. You cannot put every offensive woe that we have on Mike and Albert. Because we have to be more than Mike and Albert, and we feel that we are." -- Scioscia
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The Blue Jays have scored 10 or more runs in 19 games this season, which leads the Major Leagues and also is tied for the franchise record set in 2003.
Toronto's 15 runs are the most the club has scored against the Angels. It's also their most runs since a 15-7 win at Boston on July 22, 2012.
Blue Jays: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will take the mound when the Blue Jays look to complete a three-game sweep of the Angels on Sunday afternoon at 3:35 p.m. ET. Dickey is coming off a start in which he gave up five runs against the Phillies, but he had surrendered three runs or fewer in 13 of his 14 starts prior to that.
Angles: Garrett Richards starts the series finale for the Angels at 12:35 p.m. PT, as the Halos hope to climb back into the second AL Wild Card spot. It's now been just over a year since the right-hander tore the patellar tendon in his left knee, ending his season. Richards beat the White Sox his last time out with seven strong innings, allowing two earned runs.
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