Tough second inning sinks Richards, Angels

Tough second inning sinks Richards, Angels

Tough second inning sinks Richards, Angels
TORONTO -- This city will celebrate Canada Day on Sunday. As a precursor, the circus showed up for the second inning at Rogers Centre on Saturday afternoon.

In that frame, the Angels couldn't get out of their own way. Garrett Richards was hit around like a pinball machine, the Angels fell all over themselves defensively and the Blue Jays circled the bases like a carousel -- scoring seven times -- in a seemingly never-ending inning that paved the way for an eventual 11-2 defeat.

"One of those days," Richards said. "Everybody was off."

It began with Richards, the 24-year-old right-hander who had been outstanding since his callup from Triple-A Salt Lake -- with a 1.63 ERA in his first 27 2/3 innings -- and then unraveled in the bottom of the second.

That inning saw the Blue Jays hit for the cycle, crank out seven hits -- four of them for extra bases, most of them scorched -- and send 11 batters to the plate. Peter Bourjos dropped a line drive hit right at him, Mike Trout made a throwing error and saw another ball bounce over his head, and the Angels set a new season high for runs allowed in an inning.

Or is that a season low?

"It was a bad game," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after his club dropped back-to-back games for the first time since June 3-4. "We're just going to turn the page on it."

"While you're out there," Richards added, "it's just kind of like it just keeps going and going and going. You just have to refocus and worry about the next pitch."

But things only snowballed.

Kelly Johnson doubled to start the inning and Yunel Escobar followed with a two-run shot. Then, with two outs and a runner on first, Bourjos dropped a line drive after losing the ball in the stands.

It could've ended the frame. Instead, it made it 4-0 and allowed the madness to ensue.

"If I'm able to make that play, it never happens," Bourjos said. "All that is probably on me. Unfortunately, we didn't get out of that inning."

Colby Rasmus followed with a double and Jose Bautista singled, making it 6-0. The next batter, Edwin Encarnacion, lined a single to left field that Trout wound up throwing into the Blue Jays' dugout, making it 7-0. Then, the inning came full circle when Johnson tripled on a ball that bounced off the turf and over Trout's head, trickling all the way to the wall and scoring Encarnacion to give the Blue Jays an 8-0 lead.

"Pretty messy," Richards said.

"Offensively," Blue Jays skipper John Farrell added, "we got a couple of breaks in the second inning which helped contribute to [those] seven runs. But we ran the bases aggressively once again."

Richards got through 4 1/3 innings, but was charged with 10 runs (five earned) on nine hits and four walks. Two of them came while he watched from the bench, as David Carpenter surrendered a three-run homer to Brett Lawrie shortly after relieving Richards in the bottom of the fifth.

"You're a Major League pitcher -- and Garrett certainly has the stuff to pitch in the big leagues. You have to get to the next pitch, you have to minimize damage, you have to make pitches," Scioscia said. "I think it was a combination of, sure we cracked the door for them offensively, but Garrett just struggled today."

An Angels lineup that had Torii Hunter, Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar all out -- due to the turf and the quick turnaround from Friday night's game -- hardly stood a chance at an epic comeback against Blue Jays starter Henderson Alvarez, who pitched a shutout in Anaheim on May 4 and gave up just one run over seven innings on Saturday.

The hole was simply too deep.

Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and Richards -- three members of a staff that has compiled the best ERA in the American League for most of the season -- have combined to give up 16 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings through the first three games of this series, good for a 9.41 ERA.

"I think you're going to have streaks like this," Scioscia said. "We've run into some guys that are swinging the bats, and we're not matching it by making pitches. With Dan's outing and Ervin's outing and Garrett's outing, it's obvious when you're getting behind in the count and you're not able to get the ball into good zones, Major League hitters -- especially this lineup -- they're going to take advantage of that. And I think that's what we're seeing."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.