TORONTO (AP) - Henderson Alvarez gave the Toronto Blue Jays' injury-riddled rotation the break it needed.
Alvarez pitched seven solid innings, Yunel Escobar homered during a seven-run burst in the second inning and Brett Lawrie later added a three-run shot, leading the Blue Jays over the Los Angeles Angels 11-2 Saturday.
Toronto, which lost starters Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison in a four-game span earlier this month, watched with concern when Alvarez exited with a sore elbow after five innings in last Monday's game at Boston.
Declared healthy enough to take his regular turn in the rotation against the streaking Angels, the right-handed Alvarez responded by winning consecutive starts for the first time since May 10, when he followed up a shutout of the Angels with a win at Minnesota.
``The fact that he was able to go out and pitch extremely efficient, a lot of early outs, his pitch count well in check, he did an outstanding job,' manager John Farrell said. ``It's been a while since a starter worked deep in the game to give some of our relievers some down time.'
Alvarez allowed one runs and seven hits and walked none.
``It felt good today,' Alvarez said through a translator. ``It does so much good to go long into games. It was good to be able to go seven.'
Center fielder Peter Bourjos said Alvarez didn't give the Angels much to swing at.
``A lot of borderline pitches, I felt, close pitches that he was getting some calls on,' Bourjos said. ``He threw the ball extremely well, kept the ball down and he really didn't leave too much over the plate.'
Lawrie also doubled and singled. He drove in three runs and scored three before leaving after the seventh.
Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia almost tumbled over the dugout railing while catching Trout's foul popup in the eighth, but Toronto third base coach Brian Butterfield and pitcher Brett Cecil leapt off the bench to prevent a painful fall.
``That was awesome,' Lawrie said. ``He kept his eye on the ball the whole time and stuck with it. It was a nice catch.'
Los Angeles lost consecutive games for the first time since June 3-4.
``That was a bad game,' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``We're just going to turn the page on it.'
Trout, who came in leading the AL with a .342 average, was held hitless for the first time in 12 games. He finished 0 for 4, dropping his average to .336.
Garrett Richards (2-1) lost for the first time in five starts this season. He allowed 10 runs, five of them unearned, and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings.
``We were just off today,' Richards said. ``As a team we were off. Just one of those days.'
Lawrie got the Blue Jays started in the first with a leadoff double and later scored when Jose Bautista grounded into a double play.
The Blue Jays matched their biggest inning of the season in the second. Kelly Johnson opened with a double and Escobar followed with his fifth home run. Two outs later, Arencibia singled, took second on a passed ball and scored when Bourjos dropped Lawrie's sinking liner for an error.
``That inning snowballed after that play and it didn't get better,' Bourjos said.
It sure didn't. Colby Rasmus doubled home a run and scored on Bautista's single, the 500th RBI of the Toronto star's career. Edwin Encarnacion followed with a single and Trout made a wild throw from left field, allowing another run to score. Johnson capped the inning with an RBI triple that skipped past Trout.
Bourjos, who said Lawrie's liner ``knuckleballed' on him at the last instant, also said he had a hard time picking up the ball all game long.
``That's probably one of the most difficult times I've had (seeing) balls, especially with balls that didn't get above the stadium and into the sky,' he said. ``If the ball doesn't get up, it's tough to see.'
Maicer Izturis hit an RBI double in the Angels' third.
Richards left after issuing back-to-back walks to Adam Lind and Arencibia in the fifth, and Lawrie greeted reliever David Carpenter with a drive into the left-field bullpen for his eighth homer.
NOTES: The Angels dropped back-to-back road games for the first time since a three-game skid from May 19-21. ... Johnson had reached safely in six straight plate appearances before striking out in the eighth. ... Like Lawrie, Bautista also left the game early, making way for Ben Francisco in the fifth. ... Scioscia held OF Torii Hunter and SS Erick Aybar out of the starting lineup. Albert Pujols started at DH, with Kendrys Morales taking over at 1B. ... Los Angeles C Chris Iannetta (right wrist/forearm) is scheduled to begin a throwing program Monday, Scioscia said. ... The Blue Jays also had a seven-run inning in a 9-2 win over Baltimore on April 15. ... The seven-run second was the biggest inning against the Angels this season. ... Attendance was 29,287, putting Toronto over the one million mark after 37 home games, something they hadn't done since 1998.
The Associated Press News Service
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