ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Toronto Blue Jays are cold but not concerned. They still feel they can make a move in the playoff race.
Mike Trout and Albert Pujols each scored twice, Alex Meyer gave up two hits in five innings for his first career win, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Blue Jays 4-0 on Sunday afternoon.
The Blue Jays fell out of a tie with Baltimore for the top AL wild-card spot and lead Seattle by one game for the second spot. Toronto has yet to win a series in September, splitting with Los Angeles.
“They’re all aware of where we’re at and nobody likes what’s happening right now,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “But we’re good enough for some wins. The reality is that if you’re good enough, we’ll be in. And if we’re not, we won’t.”
Toronto left seven on base and was a combined 1 for 17 with runners in scoring position in the last two games.
“There’s not a guy out in that room that’s not busting his (butt) trying to come through,” Gibbons said. “If it was that easy to hit, more people would be doing it. They’re competing, we’re just coming up short.”
Meyer (1-3) struck out a career-best seven and walked three in the longest outing of his career.
“It was awesome, it’s something that you think about for a long time,” Meyer said. “I don’t want to say it gets a monkey off your back, but to be able to get that is pretty special. I can’t really put it into words but it was a fun day.”
After his last start, Meyer went back and watched film of some of his collegiate starts for Kentucky and also worked with pitching coach Charles Nagy and special assistant Bud Black in an effort to repeat an old delivery and change his arm slot.
“I think that he understands some of the things he needs to get back to from when he pitched in college and where he feels really comfortable throwing the ball,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “His stuff out there today was explosive. He had great command, great velocity, he was spinning the ball well, threw some good changeups. Some pitches got away from him, but for the most part, he was very pitch-efficient and effective.”
Marcus Stroman (9-9) went six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out three.
The game was delayed for 13 minutes in the bottom of the third inning due to bees on the field.
Stroman allowed runs in the second and fourth innings before Joe Biagini gave up two in the seventh inning.
“They’re gutting it out but they’re all getting tired,” Gibbons said of his pitchers. “They’ve all got a lot of innings, more innings than most of them have ever had, but I’m proud of those guys.”
Trout went from first to third on Pujols’ single in the seventh and came home on C.J. Cron’s sacrifice fly. After Andrelton Simmons walked, Rafael Ortega’s flare dropped into shallow left field for a single. Ortega advanced to second on the throw and scored Pujols from third base to cap the scoring.
Angels: C Jett Bandy remained out of the lineup with a sore back. Bandy exited Saturday’s game with back spasms after a slide in the first inning.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (8-9, 3.78) opens a series against the Mariners. He has lost his past three starts and five of his last six decisions. He has allowed 12 earned runs in his last 12 2/3 innings. He lost a 2-1 decision to Seattle on July 22 in Toronto and is 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA in three career starts against Seattle.
Angels: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (4-6, 5.44 ERA) will make his second start since coming out of the bullpen, again in place of the injured Tyler Skaggs, when the Angels start a three-game series on the road against the Texas Rangers. Chacin has pitched to a 0.57 ERA in his last three starts and is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three appearances against Texas.