TORONTO (AP) - After a crunching collision at home plate, the Blue Jays' Brett Lawrie found himself at the center of another controversy.
Lawrie, suspended for four games in April for throwing his helmet after a called third strike, raised the ire of Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher after crashing into catcher John Hester in the sixth inning of the Los Angeles' 10-6 victory over Toronto on Sunday.
With Toronto trailing 3-0, Omar Vizquel walked, Lawrie singled and Colby Rasmus walked to load the bases for Jose Bautista, who hit a grounder to second that eluded Howie Kendrick. Vizquel scored and Rasmus ran from second to third but Lawrie didn't react, finally breaking for the plate as Rasmus approached the bag.
Kendrick threw home just as Lawrie crashed into Hester, appearing to lift his forearms and strike Hester across the face.
``When you see the ball at second base, you know there's going to be a play at the plate, so you've got to brace yourself,' Lawrie said.
Both players tumbled to the ground before Lawrie popped up and darted back to touch the plate.
The play, and umpire James Hoye's safe call, brought Mike Scioscia out of the dugout for a furious argument, one that ended with the Angels manager being ejected for the third time this season.
``In 35 years, I've never seen a catcher get bowled over at the plate, hold the ball and the runner be called safe,' Scioscia said. ``Never seen it.'
It was the second time Scioscia had left the dugout to argue with Hoye; the two also exchanged words in the fourth after Hoye appeared to change a strike call to a ball, granting Edwin Encarnacion a walk.
A former catcher, Scioscia said he didn't have a problem with Lawrie's hard slide and the resulting collision with Hester.
``Not at all,' he said. ``I think it's a hard baseball play. Lawrie sensed the timing was against him and he's a competitor. He's going to go try to dislodge the ball and see if he can't be safe.'
Butcher, however, was seen yelling across the field to Lawrie following the play.
``I couldn't tell what he was trying to say,' Lawrie said. ``He was directing it at me, but I didn't know what he was trying to say. I couldn't read his lips.'
Blue Jays manager John Farrell downplayed the incident, describing the exchange between Lawrie and Butcher as ``a heat-of-the-moment type of thing.'
Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson took a swipe at Lawrie's aggressive style after the game.
``It's definitely not how a lot of guys would run the bases,' Wilson said. ``You can never really change someone's stripes. He's going to play the way he plays and there's nothing anybody is ever going to be able to do about that.'
When play resumed, Wilson walked Encarnacion a second time and was replaced by LaTroy Hawkins. Yunel Escobar flied to right and Rasmus was thrown out at home by Torii Hunter before pinch-hitter Adam Lind ended the rally by grounding out.
Mike Trout hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning, Mark Trumbo and Alberto Callaspo added two-run shots as the Angels earned a split in their four-game series.
Toronto tied it in the seventh when J.P. Arencibia connected off Jason Isringhausen, his 11th, but the Angels answered in the eighth, when Trout led off with a blast to center against Francisco Cordero (3-5), his ninth.
``That was a huge situation in the game,' Trumbo said of his young teammate's timely drive. ``Great two-strike approach, stayed short, got a hanging slider and totally shifted the momentum back in our favor. It came at just the right time.'
One out later, Albert Pujols singled and Trumbo, also named an All-Star reserve before the game, followed with a drive to left, his 20th homer this season.
Trout, who went 2 for 4 with a walk and scored three times and raised his AL-leading average to .339, said making his first All-Star team was ``just an unbelievable feeling.'
Isringhausen (3-0) worked one inning for the win despite allowing Arencibia's tying home run in the seventh, and Los Angeles earned a split in the four-game series.
Colby Rasmus hit a three-run homer off Jordan Walden in the ninth, his 15th, but it wasn't enough for Toronto.
The Angels snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 15-3 in their past 18 road games.
Los Angeles opened the scoring in the first thanks to a defensive miscue by Rajai Davis, who started in right field in place of Jose Bautista. Trout led off with a double and tagged up on Pujols' one-out fly ball to right, coming around to score when Davis dropped the ball.
Callaspo made it 3-0 with a two-run shot to left in the fifth, his sixth of the season and second this series.
Los Angeles capped it with a four-run ninth. Hunter hit a sacrifice fly, Pujols and Peter Bourjos added RBI singles and Kendrys Morales drove in a run with a fielder's choice.
Wilson failed to extend his winning streak to six games, allowing two runs, one earned, and three hits in five innings. The left-hander, who has not lost since May 17 against the Chicago White Sox, walked five and struck out three.
``I was really just kind of chasing my delivery all day today,' Wilson said.
NOTES: Bautista was named to the AL's All-Star starting lineup before the game, his third selection. Bautista will be the lone Blue Jays representative, with Encarnacion overlooked. ... Trumbo was one of four Angels players named as All-Star reserves, joining Trout, Wilson and RHP Jered Weaver. ... 2B Kelly Johnson was held out of Toronto's starting lineup and replaced by Vizquel. ... Toronto signed RHP Chase DeJong, their second-round pick in last month's draft.
The Associated Press News Service
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