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Blue Jays surrender big lead, Dodgers rally for the win

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The Canadian Press
7/24/2013 2:08:32 AM
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TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays had a long players-only meeting before the game, but came up short again when it counted.

After meeting behind closed doors for more than an hour Tuesday, Toronto blew an 8-3 lead through six innings in losing their sixth straight game, 10-9 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Adrian Gonzalez's three-run home run keyed a four-run eighth as the Dodgers won their fifth in a row and 22nd in 27 games.

"It doesn't get any worse than that to be honest with you, considering where we're at," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, whose team has lost 13 of its last 17. "Games like that are going to happen every now and then but it's really magnified now. We had a nice little lead, nine outs to go and we were in the driver's seat.

"Our bullpen has been very good but they kept coming after us, they have a pretty good lineup. We made a run late, but by then it was too late."

Andre Ethier and Jerry Hairston Jr. also homered as the Dodgers (52-47) won a ninth straight road game to match their longest streak since July 2004.

Gonzalez, Ethier and Mark Ellis each had three RBIs for Los Angeles. Hairston homered in the sixth and Gonzalez erased an 8-6 deficit with a drive to centre off Darren Oliver (3-2) in the eighth, his 15th. One out later, Ethier went deep for the seventh time.

The Blue Jays (45-54) continue to disappoint after opening the season with great expectations.

"It's definitely not how we drew it up, but that's why you have to play the game on the field," Oliver said. "We definitely have to turn it around so we can enjoy the last two and a half months."

Jose Reyes had a two-run home run and three RBIs for the Blue Jays, while Jose Bautista and Mark DeRosa hit solo shots. Brett Lawrie and Bautista each had two RBIs.

"You have to tip your hat when a team comes out swinging like that and can score some runs with some home runs, " Bautista said. "There's nothing that we can do about it at times. We scored nine runs and that's normally enough and our pitchers are not going to give up home runs but some days are like that."

Bautista declined to discuss details of the meeting.

"Sometimes teams just have to get together and kind of air some things out," he said. "Teammates have to know what everybody is thinking what's in everybody's head. Today was a good day to do it.

"After the (all-star) break we were hoping to come out of the gate strong and we didn't. So it was a good time to do it. It went well, we aired some things out. I like to keep it private. I certainly won't discuss the details of what we talked about."

Former Toronto reliever Brandon League (4-3) pitched two-thirds of an inning to pick up the win. Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 12th save despite allowing a run.

Down 10-8 in the ninth, the Blue Jays made a push when J.P. Arencibia singled home Adam Lind, but Lawrie ended the game with a fly to the warning track in left.

"We're fighters," Bautista said. "We showed it today. We scored a lot of runs and they went ahead and we still tried to battle back. Unfortunately we came up a little short. We have a lot of great capable baseball players in this room.

"We're not getting the results right now."

Blue Jays starter Todd Redmond held the Dodgers to three runs and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings, while Dodgers counterpart Chris Capuano allowed five runs on seven hits in 4 1-3 innings.

"I thought (Redmond) did a great job, he gave us what we needed, " Gibbons said. "It's not an easy lineup to face and he held them in check."

The Blue Jays took a 2-0 lead in the third inning on a single by Lawrie, a double by Reyes and a single by Bautista.

The Dodgers tied the game 2-2 in the fourth on infield hits to third by Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez, a double by Ethier that scored one run and a single by Ellis that plated another.

The Blue Jays regained their two-run edge in the bottom of the inning on DeRosa's fifth homer of the season, a double by Rajai Davis, an infield single by Arencibia and a sacrifice fly by Lawrie.

Bautista then hit his 23rd homer of the season in the fifth to put the Blue Jays up 5-2 and chase Capuano in favour of Carlos Marmol.

Hairston made it 5-3 with his solo homer in the sixth and Brett Cecil came out of the Toronto bullpen to replace Redmond after Tim Federowicz doubled.

The Blue Jays added three runs in the sixth against Marmol and looked to be cruising. Lawrie singled home Arencibia and he came around on Reyes' fifth homer of the season.

"You don't feel great when you're down 8-3 there but you also know you've got three innings." Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We've been throwing up some big innings lately."

Down by five, the Dodgers didn't quit. They scored three in the seventh to cut the lead to 8-6 on singles by Puig, Gonzalez and walks to Ramirez and Ethier that forced in a run.

After Dustin McGowan replaced Cecil, Ellis greeted him with a two-run single before Hairston was hit by a pitch to load the bases again.

McGowan struck out Federowicz and then got the force at home on a close play to end the inning and keep Toronto up by two before Gonzalaz gave L.A. the lead.

"That ball was crushed," Mattingly said. "For me, Adrian's been our guy all year. I know Hanley (Ramirez) has been really hot but Adrian has just been there the whole season for us. He doesn't get the same attention because he's kind of been consistent."

Notes: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 32,158. ... Davis started in centre field for the Blue Jays against the left-handed Capuano. ... The Blue Jays juggled their lineup with Bautista returning the third spot after 59 games hitting second. Edwin Encarnacion dropped back to fourth, while Melky Cabrera returned to the No. 2 hole. ... In losing 14-5 to the Dodgers on Monday, the Blue Jays committed five errors in a game for the first time since May 18, 2011. .... Esmil Rogers (3-4, 3.84 earned-run average) will start the series finale on Wednesday for Toronto against L.A.'s Ricky Nolasco (6-9, 3.75 ERA).




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