Toronto at Anaheim

L.A. Angels
W: B. League (1-0) L: F. Rodriguez (2-3)
S: M. Batista (22)
HR: TOR - S. Hillenbrand (17)   ANA - None

Blue Jays 4, Angels 3

CBS wire reports

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A perfect bunt, a bases loaded walk and a sacrifice fly were all it took for the Toronto Blue Jays to hand Los Angeles closer Francisco Rodriguez another blown save and deprive Joe Saunders of a victory in his major league debut.

Rodriguez walked Corey Koskie with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to force in the tying run and pinch-hitter Frank Catalanotto's flyball drove in the go-ahead run, lifting the Blue Jays to a 4-3 victory Tuesday night.

Saunders pitched 7 1/3 innings and left with a 3-2 lead, but Rodriguez couldn't hold it and was charged with his fifth blown save in 32 attempts as the Angels had a four-game winning streak snapped.

"Joe pitched great, but unfortunately, he didn't get the win because I didn't do my job and blew the save," Rodriguez said. "I've been having a rough time the last six or seven outings. I feel like I'm in the middle of a hurricane, but I'll be fine. My confidence is fine. There's nothing to panic about.

"My arm feels great, I'm just not making my pitches and it's been costing us some games," Rodriguez added. "My mechanics are off, but mentally and physically, I'm fine. I've just got to turn the page and be ready for tomorrow."

The Blue Jays loaded the bases against Rodriguez (2-3) on Shea Hillenbrand's single, a walk and Gregg Zaun's bunt single up the third base line.

"I knew I was going to be bunting in that situation, anyway, so I got ready when I was in the on-deck circle to get my nose in there and get it done. Luckily, it worked out great," Zaun said.

"It's hard to bunt against guys who throw hard. He moves the ball around in the strike zone and he's got that great curveball and slider. So you don't know what you're going to get. But I got a hard fastball away, and it was really in a good spot for me because I was trying to bunt the ball to third base, anyway."

Koskie worked the count to 3-2 before the next pitch missed the outside corner, allowing Hillenbrand to score. Pinch-hitter Eric Hinske scored on Catalanotto's fly to right.

Brandon League (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings of relief for the win and Miguel Batista got three outs for his 22nd save.

Saunders allowed two runs and five hits, struck out two and walked two in an emergency start for Paul Byrd, who was held out for precautionary reasons with back spasms.

The 11-year veteran, whose next scheduled start is Sunday, said before the game that he could have pitched against the Blue Jays after getting treatment a couple of days earlier from the team's chiropractor.

Saunders, the 12th overall pick in the 2002 draft out of Virginia Tech, retired 13 of his first 14 batters. The 24-year-old rookie, who was promoted from Triple-A Salt Lake, was working on three days' rest after allowing four hits in eight scoreless innings on Friday.

"It was a rush," said Saunders, pitching before a crowd of 42,486 that included his parents, who flew in from Washington D.C. "It's every kid's dream to get up here. And once you do, the nerves kick in, but you just try to keep calm and pitch your game. I was pretty pleased with my performance. I just tried to throw strikes and get guys out as quick as possible."

After the game, Saunders was optioned back to Salt Lake and switched places with RHP Greg Jones.

Hillenbrand drove the left-hander's ninth pitch of the game into the second tier of the left field bullpen leading off the second for his 17th homer.

The Blue Jays didn't get another hit until Koskie singled in the fifth after a one-out walk to Zaun. But Saunders escaped the threat by retiring Alex Rios on a double-play grounder.

"Our track record against guys spot-starting this year hasn't exactly been great," Zaun said. "I think a surefire way to beat us is to bring somebody up from Triple-A that we've never seen before. We don't seem to do well against guys like that. He had good stuff, and the fact that we'd never seen him before made it doubly tough."

Saunders left in the eighth after giving up a single to Orlando Hudson and walking Russ Adams. Scot Shields came on and after a double steal, Hudson was thrown out at the plate on Reed Johnson's grounder to first baseman Darin Erstad. Vernon Wells then grounded out.

Toronto starter Scott Downs allowed three runs, six hits and three walks in 6 2/3 innings, striking out six.


The MRI taken Monday on Toronto LHP Ted Lilly came back negative. Lilly, sidelined since July 25 because of tendinitis in his biceps, is hoping to get at least one rehab outing before the minor league season ends. ... Angels LF Garret Anderson sat out his third straight game because of tightness in his lower back. He was examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum, who ordered additional lab work. Anderson missed 43 games last season because of inflammatory arthritis in his upper back. ... Yocum took an MRI and a bone scan on the left hip of Angels rookie 3B Dallas McPherson. The tests revealed irritation in the hip joint, and McPherson will be examined Wednesday by hip specialist Dr. Marc Philipon in Vail, Colo.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

J. Saunders
IP 7.1
H 5
ER 2
BB 2
K 2

S. Hillenbrand
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1

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Toronto Blue Jays
Russ Adams, SS4000103 .269
Reed Johnson, LF-RF4000001 .275
Vernon Wells, CF4011002 .284
Shea Hillenbrand, 1B4221001 .299
Aaron Hill, DH3000010 .296
   a- Eric Hinske, PH-DH0100100 .249
Gregg Zaun, C3010100 .266
Corey Koskie, 3B3011110 .245
Alex Rios, RF3000001 .280
   b- Frank Catalanotto, PH-LF0001000 .288
Orlando Hudson, 2B4120002 .271
a-walked for Hill in the 9th
b-hit a sacrifice fly for Rios in the 9th
2B - Orlando Hudson (21, Saunders)
HR - Shea Hillenbrand (17, Saunders)
SF - Frank Catalanotto (3)
RBI - Vernon Wells (70), Shea Hillenbrand (69), Corey Koskie (23), Frank Catalanotto (36)
2-OUT RBI - Vernon Wells (27)
SB - Russ Adams (6, 2nd base off Shields/Molina), Orlando Hudson (5, 3rd base off Shields/Molina)
Team LOB - 6
DP - R. Adams-Hudson-Hillenbrand
Toronto Blue Jays
Scott Downs 6.2633360 4.89
Brandon League (W,1-0) 1.1000000 6.38
Miguel Batista (S,22) 1000100 3.05
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Downs 98-61, Brandon League 7-4, Miguel Batista 21-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Downs 8-5, Brandon League 4-0, Miguel Batista 2-1
Batters Faced - Scott Downs 28, Brandon League 4, Miguel Batista 4
Los Angeles Angels
Chone Figgins, 3B3011110 .287
Orlando Cabrera, SS4000004 .249
Darin Erstad, 1B4010000 .281
Vladimir Guerrero, RF4110001 .326
Bengie Molina, C4010001 .302
Juan Rivera, LF2100211 .257
    Maicer Izturis, PR0000000 .253
Casey Kotchman, DH3000122 .179
    Jeff DaVanon, PR-DH0000000 .235
Steve Finley, CF4110012 .221
Adam Kennedy, 2B4011012 .336
RBI - Chone Figgins (42), Adam Kennedy (34)
2-OUT RBI - Chone Figgins (10), Adam Kennedy (12)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Cabrera-Kennedy-Erstad
Los Angeles Angels
Joe Saunders 7.1522221 2.45
Scot Shields (H,25) 0.2000000 2.33
Francisco Rodriguez (BS,5; L,2-3) 0.1222200 2.91
Kevin Gregg 0.2000000 5.28
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Saunders 95-60, Scot Shields 8-5, Francisco Rodriguez 18-9, Kevin Gregg 6-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Saunders 9-10, Scot Shields 2-0
Batters Faced - Joe Saunders 28, Scot Shields 2, Francisco Rodriguez 5, Kevin Gregg 2
Game Information
Attendance - 42468
Game Time - 2:39
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Dan Iassogna, First Base - Dale Scott, Second Base - Tim Tschida, Third Base - Ron Kulpa