07/06/08 8:36 PM ET
Road trip ends on sour note in Anaheim
Litsch battered for six runs as bats shut down in Angels' rout
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
Instead, the Blue Jays toiled through more of the same. On Sunday afternoon, Toronto's venture out west concluded with a 7-1 defeat at the hands of the Angels, who churned out six of those runs against Jays right-hander Jesse Litsch.
The loss gave Toronto a 2-4 record on this trek, which included the fifth and sixth consecutive series losses for the Blue Jays away from the comforts of home. The trip began with a frustrating stop against the struggling Mariners in Seattle and ended with another quiet clubhouse after the loss to the Angels.
"It's kind of a disappointing road trip," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "But, we'll turn the page and keep going."
After an off-day on Monday, Toronto (42-47) will head back to Rogers Centre to begin its final homestand before the All-Star break. On Tuesday, the Jays will host the Orioles, followed by the Yankees heading to Toronto for a weekend set. Baltimore and New York sit just north of the last-place Jays in the American League East standings.
"We still have to play the teams that are ahead of us in our division," Jays center fielder Vernon Wells said. "We'll take it one game and one team at a time. We'll worry about who's in front of us right now, and that's Baltimore. We have a chance to play those guys when we get home."
At least it's better than the alternative of having another series on the road. The Blue Jays have lost four of their past five games, giving the club 13 losses in its past 17 games away from home. For the season, Toronto is 20-28 on the road -- one loss away from the most defeats in the league.
Toronto's latest trip can safely be qualified as a disaster, considering the team managed just a .233 batting average with a .208 mark with runners in scoring position. The Blue Jays' hitter combined for just three home runs, struck out 41 times and plated just 20 runs over the six games against Seattle and Los Angeles.
The Toronto pitchers weren't immune, either. Throw out the shutout that ace Roy Halladay turned in on Monday and the Blue Jays' arms combined for a 5.88 ERA, allowing 27 earned runs over 41 1/3 innings. Even with Halladay's gem, the team's ERA on the trip was an uncharacteristically high 4.83.
"Everybody's trying as hard as they can on this club," Jays catcher Rod Barajas said. "The way this season's been going, it's just been disappointing for everybody. Every last one of us are out there, and we're trying. It could be that we're trying too hard, but you have to figure out a way to do it, and we haven't done that."
Barajas provided Toronto's lone run on Sunday, sending an 0-1 offering from Angels starter Jon Garland (8-5) over the wall in center field for a fifth-inning home run. It was one of five extra-base hits that the Jays managed against Garland, who still ran into little trouble in his complete-game win.
Toronto had a leadoff double from Wells in the second inning, but Garland retired the next three batters in order. Wells was also thrown out at the plate after trying to score from first base on a double by Lyle Overbay in the fourth. Alex Rios added a leadoff double in the ninth, but was forced out at second after he sprinted too far off the base on a flyout to left field.
"We're not scoring a lot of runs," said Gaston, when asked specifically about Wells' being thrown out. "So, when we get a chance, we're going to have to do some of those things."
The Angels (53-35), who won the season series against Toronto for the first time since 2002, tagged Litsch (8-5) for six runs over his 5 1/3 innings -- one on a second-inning homer from Juan Rivera -- and added another against the Jays' bullpen in the seventh.
The result was a fourth loss for Litsch in his past five decisions, and yet another disappointing trip on the road.
"We're going to try to make more out of the rest of the season," Litsch said. "Every time out, we're going to do that, but it didn't turn out that way. We went out there and won some of them, but it would've been a lot better to win five out of six."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.