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Bridwell's strong start helps Angels clip Jays

July 28, 2017

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays were riding the high of a four-game sweep over the A's until they stepped into the batter's box against Angels right-hander Parker Bridwell.Bridwell retired the first 11 batters he faced and allowed just one run over a career-high 7 1/3 innings in a 7-2 victory

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays were riding the high of a four-game sweep over the A's until they stepped into the batter's box against Angels right-hander Parker Bridwell.
Bridwell retired the first 11 batters he faced and allowed just one run over a career-high 7 1/3 innings in a 7-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Friday night at Rogers Centre. Michael Trout and C.J. Cron each drove in two runs while Andrelton Simmons logged a double and a triple. The victory snapped the Angels' three-game skid and kept them 5 1/2 games behind the Royals for the second American League Wild Card spot.
"I always look to come out, and if we're winning, continue winning, and if we're losing, to change that," said Bridwell, who lowered his ERA to 2.83 over nine appearances. "And I do everything in my power to keep the momentum on our side. That's part of why I work quick. When we score a run, my objective is to go out there and throw up a zero. Tonight, I felt like we did that pretty well."
The Angels did most of their damage off Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ, who was charged with three runs on five hits and four walks. Happ struck out five while picking up the quality start, but he has not thrown more than six innings in a game since the end of June. Toronto also has lost each of his last four starts, but a big reason behind that has been a lack of run support.
The Blue Jays made things interesting in the eighth after Darwin Barney and Jose Bautista hit a pair of doubles. Josh Donaldson came up as the potential tying run with runners on the corners, but he grounded into a fielder's choice to end the threat. The Angels then came back in the ninth inning with three runs to put the game out of reach as Cron hit a two-run shot to left for his fifth home run.

Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak hit his 29th home run -- a solo shot in the ninth as Toronto dropped to 4-12 vs. the Angels over the last 16 games at Rogers Centre.
"I think their guy was better, that's the bottom line," said Happ, who has walked 16 batters over his last six outings. "I think there was a couple of too many two-out walks tonight, but we were right there within striking distance for most of the game there."

Walk this way: The Angels were able to take advantage of Happ's lack of command in the second inning. The lefty walked three batters, including Trout with the bases loaded while Kaleb Cowart also chipped in with an RBI single for a 2-0 lead. Happ took exception to the strike zone by home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez during the inning and at one point the two exchanged words in a lengthy staredown.

"He lost the zone," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Happ's 43-pitch second. "Then, he actually settled in and ended up giving us six innings, which is hard to do actually. But I've got nothing other than he lost the zone."
Shutting them down: Bridwell cruised until Donaldson drew a two-out walk in the fourth inning. Smoak followed with a sharp single to right field to put runners on the corners for Kendrys Morales. Bridwell then likely got away with a mistake as he grooved a 92-mph fastball right down the heart of the plate that Morales popped up to shallow right field. According to Statcast™, Morales' popup came with a launch angle of 48 degrees and an exit velocity of 103.2 mph.

Bautista appeared in his 1,181st game with the Blue Jays on Friday night, which tied him with George Bell for sixth place on the club's all-time list. Catcher Ernie Whitt is fifth with 1,218.

Angels slugger Jose Pujols went 0-for-5, extending his hitless streak to 21 at-bats. The worst drought of his career was an 0-for-26 stretch last April.
Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was forced to leave in the bottom of the third inning with a sprained right ankle. Tulowitzki was trying to beat out a ground ball when his right foot made contact with the foot of Angels first baseman Cron, which caused his ankle to roll as he touched down on the base. He remained on the ground for several minutes and was eventually helped off the field by the medical staff. Barney entered the game at second while Ryan Goins moved over to shortstop. Tulowitzki will undergo further tests on Saturday and there is no timetable for his return.

Gibbons lost his challenge in the bottom of the eighth inning. When Donaldson hit into a fielder's choice to end the frame, the Blue Jays felt that Cowart's foot missed the bag at second, and as a result, Russell Martin should have been called safe. The call was confirmed after a brief 28-second review.

Angels: Right-hander Yusmeiro Petit (2-0, 2.70 ERA) will make his first start of the season on Saturday at 10:07 a.m. PT as the Angels continue their three-game series with the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Petit, who has mostly been deployed as a multi-inning reliever this year, will make a spot start in place of the injured Alex Meyer and is expected to throw 40-50 pitches.
Blue Jays: Left-hander Francisco Liriano (6-5, 5.99) is scheduled to take the mound against the Angels on Saturday afternoon at 1:07 p.m. ET amid speculation that it could be his final outing for the Blue Jays. Liriano has been the subject of trade rumors in recent weeks and this will be his final appearance before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. In his last outing, Liriano allowed a pair of runs over five innings.
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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for