An ugly 1-6 road trip was in the past. Starting off a long homestand with a 10-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels had lifted the Blue Jays' spirits Monday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
Jose Bautista homered as Toronto ended a five-game losing skid by reaching a double-digit run total and pumping out 17 hits.
"We really needed that game," Gibbons said. "We'd been scuffling big-time."
Toronto had dropped seven of eight entering the Victoria Day matinee. The Blue Jays gave spot starter Todd Redmond an early four-run lead but the Angels chipped away with three runs in the fourth inning and took the lead in the sixth.
Toronto loaded the bases in the bottom half of the frame and with most of the 29,306 fans in attendance on their feet, Canadian Russell Martin delivered a two-run single that put the Blue Jays up to stay.
"Russell has gotten big hit after big hit in those kind of situations," Gibbons said. "Tight game where we really need something, two outs. He's been that guy who always seems to come through for us."
Martin, a Toronto native who grew up in Chelsea, Que., had three hits and scored a run. Bautista and Josh Donaldson also had three hits apiece while Steve Tolleson chipped in with two hits and two runs to help Toronto (18-22) take the opener of the four-game series.
"You have to turn the page," Donaldson said of the team's recent struggles. "It obviously wasn't a very good road trip for us. But we got things going on the right track right now and hopefully we continue to do this."
Albert Pujols, David Freese and Chris Iannetta homered for Los Angeles (19-19).
Redmond, called up from triple-A Buffalo a day earlier, had little trouble his first time through the Angels' order but Pujols touched him up for a no-doubt solo shot to get the Angels on the board. Redmond allowed three earned runs, four hits and a walk while striking out three over four innings.
Reliever Roberto Osuna (1-0) recorded five outs for his first major-league win.
Angels starter C.J. Wilson lasted five innings, giving up four earned runs, 10 hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Mike Morin (1-1) absorbed the loss.
"On the pitching side this is probably our worst game of the year, if you put everything together," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
Bautista belted a two-run shot on a 3-2 pitch from Cesar Ramos in the seventh inning. Iannetta hit his first homer of the year in the eighth inning off southpaw Aaron Loup.
Brett Cecil worked a scoreless ninth for Toronto.
Notes: Bautista served as designated hitter while he continues to recover from a right shoulder injury. He tried some light throwing before the game but said there was nothing new to report. "A very short distance and very minimal effort," he said. "Just trying to get the motion down. That will start the progression so we'll see how it goes." ... Redmond started the season with the Blue Jays but was designated for assignment a month ago. It was his first start and third appearance for Toronto this season. ... The game took three hours 28 minutes to play. ... The roof remained open despite the presence of threatening clouds in the later innings. ... The Blue Jays are looking for their first series win over the Angels since 2007. ... Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez is scheduled to start on Tuesday night. Left-hander Hector Santiago gets the nod for the Angels.
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