ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Drew Hutchison gave up a home run to Albert Pujols. Big deal. So did 273 other pitchers.
The only difference was that none of them had done it this season.
Pujols drove the rookie's 2-2 pitch into the left-field bullpen for his 446th career homer, ending the longest home run drought of his career after 33 games and 139 at_bats, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 on Sunday.
``My slider was pretty effective today, other than the one I hung to him,' Hutchison said after his fourth big league start. ``I was trying to bounce it in the dirt and I didn't execute it. When you don't execute your pitches, things like that happen.'
Hutchison (1-1) gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings. He and catcher J.P. Arencibia had a conference on the mound right before the fateful pitch to Pujols, which came one out after a double by Mike Trout in the fifth inning.
``I didn't think about what they were going to throw me. I see the ball and hit it,' Pujols said. ``I've been doing that since I've played this game. This game is not about guessing, it's about making adjustments. Hopefully you get a good pitch to hit and you hit it.'
Pujols homered in his 28th game and 111th at-bat with the Angels, who signed him to a 10-year, $240 million contract as a free agent in December, touching off a frenzy that resulted in more than 5,000 extra season tickets being sold. This was his first home run at Angel Stadium, the 31st big league ballpark in which he's hit one.
``My first at-bat, I couldn't pick up the ball really good off him,' the three-time NL MVP said. ``He threw me fastballs and sliders, and the second at-bat he was throwing cutters and curveballs, and I couldn't pick up his pitch from the stretch. By the third at-bat, I was able to make the adjustment. I put a good swing on it and hit it pretty good. Obviously in a day game, the ball travels a little bit more.'
The loss forced the Blue Jays to settle for a split of the four-game series, which began with back-to-back shutouts by Brandon Morrow and Henderson Alvarez - the first time that's happened on the road in franchise history. Now they head up to Oakland for the second leg of their 10-game trip.
``I don't think we are satisfied,' manager John Farrell said. ``I don't know if we can ever be satisfied splitting a series when we had ourselves set up for a series win.
``We gave ourselves some opportunities offensively. The two-out hit was a little bit elusive. We had a few things that didn't shake out our way. I thought Hutch kept things under control. He continued to battle and make quality pitches.'
Jerome Williams (3-1) was charged with three runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings. The right-hander, coming off a three-hit shutout of Minnesota last Tuesday, gave up an unearned run in the seventh after Pujols - a two-time Gold Glove winner - committed his first error of the season with a bad throw to second trying for a forceout. Kelly Johnson followed with an RBI single to make it 4-3.
Angels lefty Scott Downs, who had taken over the closer role for an ineffective Jordan Walden, injured his left knee trying to avoid a line-drive single through the box by Arencibia with one out in the ninth. LaTroy Hawkins came in and turned Omar Vizquel's line drive into a game-ending double play for his first save with the Angels.
NOTES: The 45-year-old Vizquel made his third start of the season for Toronto and his first at shortstop, where he won 11 Gold Gloves. He became the oldest player to start a game at shortstop in the major leagues. Bobby Wallace of the 1918 St. Louis Cardinals was 44 when he played his final game at that position. ... Blue Jays RF Jose Bautista was 3 for 11 in the four-game series and is batting just .183. ... Angels LF Vernon Wells has played 13 games against the Blue Jays since he was traded to Los Angeles in January 2011 for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera, and is 10 for 52 with three homers and eight RBIs.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved