TORONTO – The dynamic duo of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols got the best of Marco Estrada.
Trout and Pujols hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning as the Los Angeles Angels snapped an 11-game road losing streak Wednesday night by routing the Toronto Blue Jays 8-2.
“They have two of the best hitters on one team, made two good pitches to them and they hit them out,” Estrada said.
“I got hit around with some decent pitches out there, it’s going to happen.”
Pujols moved into sole possession of 10th all-time on the MLB home run list with his 584th career homer in the first that moved him past Mark McGwire. He finished the night with four hits and three runs-batted in on a slightly muggy night at Rogers Centre.
“That’s pretty special,” Trout said of his teammate’s accomplishment. “Obviously he and McGwire were teammates, they know each other well. It’s pretty special for him.”
“He hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. He’s still putting up numbers, still driving in 100. It’s fun to watch.”
It was the start of a rough night for Estrada, who went five innings, giving up six earned runs on 10 hits, walking three (one intentional) and striking out four. The Mexican right hander hasn’t gone past the fifth inning in three-straight starts.
“He was off,” Toronto manager John Gibbons admitted. “There’s some pretty good hitters over there. They hit him around with a couple home runs and things like that. It’s not an easy level, that’s for sure.”
Estrada’s record dropped to 7-6 on the season while his earned-run average bumped up to 3.47. Despite only going four innings in his last start in New York while earning a no-decision, the 33-year-old says his confidence is still high.
“My last two outings haven’t gone well but these things happen,” Estrada said. “Just have to keep working hard and keep making pitches. I’m sure things will turn around for me.”
The Blue Jays entered the day tied with the Boston for first place in the American League East Division and stayed there after the Red Sox fell 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays in extra innings. The Baltimore Orioles, however, gained a game after a win in Washington and now sit one back of Toronto and Boston.
Matt Shoemaker pitched six innings of shutout ball for Los Angeles, allowing just three hits while striking out two and walking one.
Along with his 24th home run of the season, Trout, an MVP candidate, added a double and single. Jett Bandy had four hits and C.J. Cron drove in a pair of runs.
Russell Martin drove in his 54th run of the season in the eighth with a single and Ezequiel Carrera had an RBI single in the ninth for the lone Blue Jays offence.
“They outplayed us,” Gibbons said. “Every phase of it, it’s not the first (time), it won’t be the last.”
Pujols added his second RBI of the game in the second inning with a sacrifice fly to centre-field. The veteran slugger entered the game leading the Majors with 36 RBIs since the all-star break.
The Angels continued to pile on in the fourth after back-to-back singles by Trout and Pujols. Pujols drove in his third run of the game in the eighth with a double to centre-field.
Toronto cut into the lead in the ninth with Justin Smoak leading off the inning with a single and then coming around to score on Carrera’s RBI single.
Notes: Attendance was 44,404 and the game lasted three hours 21 minutes… Troy Tulowitzki’s hitting streak was halted at seven games… Devon Travis was once again out of the Blue Jays lineup with a knuckle injury. He’s expected to return on Thursday… J.A. Happ (17-3, 3.05 ERA) is due to pitch for Toronto in the series finale against Jered Weaver (8-11, 5.47 ERA).