Blue Jays handle Halos, keep pace in races

Blue Jays handle Halos, keep pace in races

ANAHEIM -- The Blue Jays haven't been scoring a lot of runs this month but the way they were pitching on Friday night at Angel Stadium, it did not seem to matter.

R.A. Dickey tossed five scoreless innings while Joe Biagini, Joaquin Benoit, Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna took it the rest of the way in Toronto's 5-0 victory over the Angels. The win allowed the Blue Jays to remain two games back of Boston in the American League East and tied with Baltimore for the first AL Wild Card spot.

Troy Tulowitzki provided all of the early offense with a two-run shot in the top of the fourth inning. Toronto then broke the game open in the top of the ninth with three runs. Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run shot to left field for his 40th home run of the year while Russell Martin doubled and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Donaldson.

Encarnacion's 40th home run

"You go out there each day and try to win that game, it's as simple as that," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, whose team won back-to-back games for the first time since Aug. 28-29. "Of course you're playing different early in the season, you watch your bullpen more, this and that. This time of the year, it's about winning each game. Maybe this is the start of a little roll, we'll see. It would be good time if it was."

Angels right-hander Jered Weaver scattered seven hits and three walks over six innings. He struck out four and threw 61 of his 101 pitches for strikes en route to his 10th quality start of the season. It was the fourth time in his last five starts that Weaver surrendered two earned runs or less as he appears to be finishing the year strong.

"My fastball command was really good all night. It's the best it's been in a while." Weaver said. "I was able to locate down and in all night. Just one stupid pitch and that's the difference in the game."

Weaver rings up Donaldson

Boston and Baltimore also came out on the winning end Friday night but the Blue Jays did pick up a game on Detroit and Seattle in the Wild Card standings. The Tigers lost 11-4 to the Twins and the Mariners lost 6-0 to the Astros as both teams dropped to three games back of the Wild Card.

"That's part of the fun of the postseason run is that you're competing against teams that are good in your division and you know what you're up against," Dickey said when asked about scoreboard watching. "It's fun to do that, so we're looking and we're seeing. We know what we have to do to get where we want to get and we're just going to stay the course. We've got a really good team."

Dickey fans Trout

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Tulo Time: Tulowitzki provided all the offense the Blue Jays would need with a two-run shot to left field in the top of the fourth inning. According to Statcast™, Tulowitzki's 24th of the season was projected to travel 389 feet and left his bat at 101 mph. With the victory, Toronto improved to 73-37 when hitting a home run compared to an 8-29 record when going homerless in a game.

"Weaver does a good job of mixing up his pitches, I just think he didn't execute as good as he wanted to on that changeup there," Tulowitzki said. "He left it up a little bit, but I'm sure he's trying to get that down in the zone and one of the few mistakes he made. He pitched a good game."

Tulowitzki's two-run homer

Pujols' milestone double: Pujols became the 16th player to hit 600 doubles with his double to left in the first inning. He's one away from matching Barry Bonds for 15th all-time. More >

Pujols' 600th double

The Escape Artist: Dickey was pulled from the game with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth. Right-hander Biagini entered and walked the first batter he faced as the tying run moved into scoring position. The inning did not look very promising for Toronto, but Biagini found a way to escape the jam without any damage. Nick Buss struck out, Yunel Escobar hit a weak grounder back to the mound and Kaleb Cowart flew out to center as the inning came to an end.

"[Biagini] has been good for us all year," Dickey said. "For a young kid, without a lot of experience, we've found a keeper in him. He demonstrated out there a lot of poise and he has all year. You trust every guy coming in behind you on a team that hopes to go to the postseason and go a long way in the postseason. You want to be able to trust what's coming out of the 'pen. It's a big deal, and we do."

Biagini escapes jam

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Pujols joins Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds as the only players with 600 doubles and 575 home runs.

Encarnacion became the third player in franchise history with multiple seasons of 40-plus homers. Carlos Delgado and Jose Bautista each did it three times. More >

WHAT'S NEXT
Blue Jays: Left-hander Francisco Liriano (7-12, 5.16) will take the mound when the Blue Jays continue their four-game series vs. the Angels. Liriano returned to the rotation following a brief stint in the bullpen to toss 6 1/3 quality innings in a victory over the Rays on Sept. 12. He allowed two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out six. First pitch is 9:05 p.m. ET.

Angels: Ricky Nolasco (5-14, 4.94 ERA) gets the ball in the third game for the Angels. Nolasco has lost two straight since tossing a complete game shutout against the Reds on Aug. 31. In four starts against Toronto, he's winless with a 4.91 ERA. First pitch is 6:05 p.m. PT.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Abbey Mastracco is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Angels on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.