Drabek struggles as Blue Jays' streak halts at four

Drabek struggles as Blue Jays' streak halts at four

Drabek struggles as Blue Jays' streak halts at four
ANAHEIM -- Earlier this week, everything seemed to be going in the Blue Jays' favor. On Saturday night, everything that could have gone wrong, did.

Kyle Drabek battled control problems for most of his outing while the normally sure-handed Toronto defense came up short when the big plays needed to be made.

Drabek surrendered five runs and the Blue Jays saw their four-game winning streak come to an end with a 6-2 loss to the Angels in front of 39,018 at Angel Stadium.

"Just couldn't seem to find the four-seam fastball, and that's what beat me today," said Drabek, who walked five batters. "It just needs to be fixed. ... That's pretty much the end of that."

Drabek struggled to find the strike zone, but he also surrendered eight hits -- including two home runs -- while striking out just two and throwing 52 of his 99 pitches for strikes.

Despite the relatively ugly statistical line, Drabek managed to keep the game under control through the first five innings. He limited the Angels to just two runs and a 1-for-5 mark with runners in scoring position through five frames and had his team in position to get back into the game.

That changed in a problematic sixth inning, which began with a leadoff homer to Mark Trumbo. Drabek's fastball was intended for the outside corner, but instead found itself in the middle of the plate and set the tone for the rest of the inning.

Los Angeles followed up the homer by loading the bases with nobody out, thanks in part to a pair of infield singles. Drabek gave way to right-hander Jason Frasor, who surrendered a sacrifice fly before throwing a potential inning-ending double-play ball into center field, which allowed two additional runs to score.

"On a first-and-third-situation comebacker, you're looking to turn two around second base," said Blue Jays manager John Farrell, whose team committed three errors. "He just got spread out a little bit and didn't give an accurate feed to be able to turn two. We kind of contributed to some of the runs."

The Blue Jays weren't able to generate much offense against one of Los Angeles' prized free-agent acquisitions. Left-hander C.J. Wilson kept Toronto off balance at the plate and enjoyed one of his best starts of the year.

One of the Blue Jays' only rallies came in the fourth inning when Jose Bautista recorded a two-out RBI single for the club's first run. That was all the production the club received until Adam Lind led off the seventh with a solo home run. Lind's second of the season was his first since April 17 against Tampa Bay.

"The home run was probably the most aggressive swing he has taken in seven or eight days," Farrell said of Lind, who is batting .200 this season. "It's good to see last night, he gets a base hit and a walk late in the game, a chance to build on it tonight against a quality left-hander.

"Jose, once again, a couple of balls squared up, so it's good to see that middle part start to come to life, but we have to come back and try to win this series tomorrow."

In total, the Blue Jays managed to go just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. That was a rare lack of efficiency for a club that entered the game as one of only three teams with an average above .300 in those type of run-producing situations.

Most of the credit will to go Wilson, who allowed just the two runs on six hits while striking out nine in eight strong innings. Wilson's performance wasn't exactly perfect but it was enough to get the job done.

"He lost his release point through some stretches, but he came back and made pitches," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That lineup is not forgiving. They have some big right-handed hitters, and he made some key pitches to Bautista and then [Edwin] Encarnacion, and he just kept going.

"In the end, he probably had a little more than he might've been able to finish, but he was around the plate, throwing strikes with good movement."

Toronto's loss was just its second in eight games. It also meant the Blue Jays missed an opportunity to defeat the Angels in three consecutive games for the first time since 1998.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.