A 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night has left the Blue Jays a season-worst six games below the .500 mark. Toronto has dropped seven of its last eight games and is just 2-8 in one-run games this year.
The pitching staff has been a weak point all season and this time it was reliever Steve Delabar who gave up the critical blow, a two-run double to Marc Krauss in the seventh inning that put the Angels up to stay.
"These are our guys and I have confidence in all of them," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "We're just in a little rough patch right now. But these are our guys and we'll ride it out with them."
Starter Drew Hutchison left the game in the seventh inning with two men on and two outs. Delabar threw a wild pitch that moved both runners into scoring position before Krauss — who had replaced slugger Albert Pujols a couple innings earlier — came through with his second hit of the season.
"It was a pretty good pitch, but it wasn't the right pitch," Delabar said of his splitter. "We could have set it up differently. Like I said, it was a good one. But he was just kind of leaning out and got the barrel on it."
Mike Trout hit a solo homer for the Angels (21-19), who have won seven of their last nine games. Jered Weaver (3-4) allowed four hits, three earned runs and three walks over seven innings.
Joe Smith picked up his major-league leading 13th hold with one inning of work and Huston Street got the final three outs for his 14th save.
Pujols was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning and left the game with a bruised left hand. The Angels did not have an immediate update on his status.
"We're naturally concerned," said manager Mike Scioscia. "We hope it's just a bruise."
Toronto (18-24) will go for a split of the four-game series on Thursday.
The Blue Jays' offence has been very impressive at times but it's a tall order to bail out the pitching staff on a regular basis. Toronto is 29th in the 30-team major leagues with a 4.74 earned-run average.
Until there is improvement on the mound, the Blue Jays will have a hard time getting out of the American League East division basement.
"We can look back at this in a couple months and just laugh at it when things turn around," Delabar said. "But right now it's not a lot of fun. The starter is out there doing his job and then we come in and end up giving it up. It's not a lot of fun."
Toronto scored three runs in the fourth inning as Chris Colabello, Ezequiel Carrera and Danny Valencia drove in a run apiece. Valencia had two of the Blue Jays' five hits.
Hutchison (3-1) allowed four earned runs, six hits and two walks while striking out five.
"I need to go out there and have shutdown innings to really give us a really good performance and I didn't do that," he said.
It's still very early with just over one-quarter of the 162-game regular season in the books and the Blue Jays are only 4 1/2 games out of first place in the division standings.
In addition, a couple of teams with mediocre records — the Chicago White Sox and Seattle Mariners — are coming to Rogers Centre later in this 10-game homestand. If Toronto can put its stretch of poor play in the past, there is opportunity ahead.
"Just keep going after it, just keep attacking — that's all you can do," Gibbons said. "Things turn. It's a game where you get on rolls, good and bad. Maybe something like a little walk-off win every now and then might help to get everybody feeling good about themselves again."
Notes: It was Trout's 11th homer of the season. ... Announced attendance was 16,402. ... The game took two hours 36 minutes to play. ... Weaver had four strikeouts and improved to 10-3 lifetime against Toronto. ... Shortstop Jose Reyes (rib) is scheduled to begin his rehab assignment with triple-A Buffalo on Thursday and could return to the Blue Jays on Monday, Gibbons said. ... Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (1-5, 5.76) is scheduled to start for Toronto in the series finale. The Angels will send fellow right-hander Matt Shoemaker (3-3, 5.63) to the mound.
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