TORONTO - Brett Lawrie's promising rookie season came to a premature end, but Dustin McGowan's comeback took another positive step forward.
McGowan pitched five strong innings and struck out eight despite taking the loss as the Toronto Blue Jays fell 7-2 to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.
Former Blue Jay Vernon Wells batted in four runs with a two-run homer and a two-run single.
Lawrie, from Langley, B.C., suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right middle while taking grounders before the game. The fracture prematurely ended what has been a promising start to his career.
"Just another little bump in the road," said 21-year-old Lawrie. "Give it some time and come back again next year."
It's the second fracture for Lawrie this season. When he was near a promotion from triple-A Las Vegas, he suffered a fracture in his left hand when hit by a pitch on May 31.
He didn't reach the majors until Aug. 5.
"I got one in my left and one in my right so I hope I've got it out of my system for the next little while," Lawrie said. "It's one of those things, I just caught a bit of bad luck. Got to keep my chin up and just keep moving on."
Lawrie was fielding ground balls on feeds to second base on the front end of double plays when a grounder jumped up and hit the finger.
"My top hand was down just to kind of guide the ball in and the ball kind of took a funny hop," he said. "At the last second it kind of jumped and my hand was kind of stiff and jammed the middle finger. That was it, after I did that I just kind of shut her down."
X-rays showed the fracture. Lawrie batted .293 with nine home runs and 25 runs batted in for 43 games.
"He's had a fantastic six weeks or so that he's been here," manager John Farrell said. "It's unfortunate that the year ends prematurely for him. When you look at the broken bones it’s been a tough year for him in that regard. But what he’s shown on the field is a very, very bright future."
The Angels got better news on starter Dan Haren (16-9) who held the Blue Jays to four hits and one run on the 11th homer of the season by Eric Thames.
Thames lined a shot off Haren's left wrist that went for the final out of the eighth. Haren went down in pain but walked off the field and the first diagnosis was a bruised wrist.
The future also looks good for McGowan (0-1) who returned to the majors this month for the first time since July 8, 2008, after undergoing two shoulder surgeries.
He allowed five hits and two runs and struck out eight in his third start and fourth outing since returning to the majors. Peter Bourjos tripled and scored in the third and hit his 12th homer of the season in the fifth for the runs against McGowan.
"It was good," McGowan said. "It seems to get better every time. Just pounded the zone. Avoided the walk which kind of killed me in other starts."
He will have one more start this season, which has been basically a rehabilitation year.
"The main thing is to build him up to a reasonable workload and yet to get through the year in its entirety healthy," Farrell said. "And he's doing that."
McGowan said his slider was his biggest pitch for the strikeouts.
"I feel I can throw it any time for strikes," he said.
He will approach the off-season with more peace of mind.
"Now I know I can pitch again," he said. "The last couple of seasons it was trying to get back to pitching."
McGowan left with the Angels leading 2-0. Then Wells hit a two-run single against reliever Jesse Litsch in the sixth and hit a two-run homer, his 24th of the season, in the three-run eighth against reliever Casey Janssen.
Bourjos had three hits s did Maicer Izturis who drove in two runs for the Angels who outhit the Blue Jays 14-6.
The Blue Jays scored a run in the ninth on a double by Kelly Johnson against Hisanori Takahashi.
The Angels (85-70) took the lead with a run in the third with a one-out single by Izturis through the drawn-in infield scoring Bourjos who led off with his 10th triple of the season.
Bourjos homered with one out in the fifth on a 2-0 fastball. In the home fifth, Bourjos again stymied the Blue Jays (78-77) when he made a superb catch on David Cooper’s drive to centre.
In the Angels’ two-run sixth, Torii Hunter doubled with one out. Mark Trumbo hit a bloop double to shallow right. Hunter had to hold in case it was caught and reached third. Alberto Callaspo was walked intentionally. Wells grounded a 2-2 sinker through the left side for a two-run single.
The Angels added three against Janssen in the eighth. After Wells scored two with his homer, Bourjos singled, stole second and scored on a single by Izturis.
Then they had a scare on the final out of the home eighth.
“When I first got hit there was a good deal of pain,” Haren said. “The initial reaction is you're just scared of breaking something, or something bad. After a few seconds the feeling came back into my hand and I could feel it was going to be all right. It definitely hurt though. He smoked it.
“I didn't even see it, to tell you the truth. I don't if I reacted towards it or if I made a move at it but honestly, I did not even see the ball. He hit it that hard. I had no idea where the ball went or anything.”
It went to second baseman Izturis who threw to first for the out.
Notes: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 17,784 .... With Lawrie a late scratch, Encarnacion moved from designated hitter to third base with Cooper coming in as DH. Lawrie was put on the 15-day disabled list. . ...Henderson Alvarez (1-2, 3.62 ERA) will start Toronto’s final home game of the season Thursday and will face Ervin Santana (11-12, 3.40 ERA).