Blue Jays implode again to cap disastrous series

July 24, 2013, 10:59 PM

TORONTO — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was certain his struggling club couldn’t sink any lower than Tuesday night’s demoralizing defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It took only one day to prove him wrong.

Mark Ellis hit a two-run homer to highlight a five-run 10th inning, and Los Angeles beat Toronto on Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep.

The Blue Jays led 8-3 after six innings on Tuesday before losing 10-9. This time, Toronto was a strike away from victory before blowing it again.

"I thought we were rock bottom last night," Gibbons said. "I guess not."

The last-place Blue Jays were swept for the second straight series. They have lost a season-high seven consecutive games and 14 of 18.

"I think everyone comes in every day with a fresh mindset and wants to win, it’s just not happening for us the past few games," Blue Jays infielder Brett Lawrie said. "We’ve got to come back out there with our heads up (Thursday) and try and do a job. That’s all we can do, keep grinding."

Toronto’s bullpen allowed two home runs for the second straight game. Blue Jays relievers surrendered 18 earned runs in the three games against the Dodgers.

"It’s frustrating, it’s demoralizing but we’ve got to come back tomorrow," Gibbons said.

Juan Perez (1-2) gave up all five runs and four hits in the 10th inning for Toronto, snapping his streak of 22 innings without an earned run since being called up from Triple-A Buffalo in late May.

Yasiel Puig also went deep in the 10th for the Dodgers, who have won six straight and 23 of 28 to go from last in the NL West on June 21 to first.

Los Angeles won its 10th straight road game, the franchise’s longest streak since the Brooklyn Dodgers won their first 11 away from home in 1955.

"We’re rolling right now. We’re going to see how long this roll lasts," said Brandon League, who won for the second straight game.

League (5-3) pitched two innings to beat his former team again, and Kenley Jansen finished for the Dodgers, who left 13 runners on base and went 2 for 17 with runners in scoring position.

"It was one of those games where you’re going, ‘Man, we’re letting too many opportunities get away from us,"’ Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "That game scared me from the second on, just the way it went. It’s nice to come back and get that."

Los Angeles loaded the bases in the second but scored just one run. They stranded runners at first and second in the fourth and left the bases loaded in the fifth, coming up empty both times.

The Blue Jays led 3-2 heading into the ninth before the Dodgers rallied against closer Casey Janssen. Puig drew a leadoff walk before Janssen struck out Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez, then got two strikes on Andre Ethier. When Ethier hit a sinking liner to centre, Colby Rasmus charged the ball but couldn’t catch it, then had it bounce off his glove, allowing Puig to score.

Rasmus declined to speak with reporters after the game.

The blown save was Janssen’s second in 20 opportunities.

"I shouldn’t have walked Puig in the first place," Janssen said. "Leadoff walks always hurt, and tonight it got me."

In the 10th, Juan Uribe drew a one-out walk, and Ellis homered into the second deck in left, his fifth. One out later, Puig hit his ninth homer and first since July 2.

Gonzalez walked, Ramirez doubled, and Ethier followed with a two-run double.

Ethier went 4 for 5 with two RBIs, and Puig was 3 for 5 with a walk and two RBIs.

"He looked more like himself," Mattingly said of Puig.

The Blue Jays broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth against Ronald Belisario when pinch-runner Rajai Davis scored from second on a throwing error by Gonzalez.

Los Angeles opened the scoring on Uribe’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the second, and Puig made it 2-0 with an RBI double in the third.

Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco held the Blue Jays without a hit until the fifth, when Rasmus and Maicer Izturis drew consecutive walks. Lawrie drove them in with a two-out double off the wall.

Making his fourth start since being acquired from Miami on July 7, Nolasco allowed two runs and two hits in 5 2-3 innings. He matched a season-high with four walks and struck out five.

Toronto starter Esmil Rogers allowed two runs and 10 hits in seven innings, matching his longest outing of the season. The right-hander, who walked one and struck out four, has not won since June 18 against Colorado, a span of six starts.

"His back was against the wall all night long," Gibbons said.

Before the game, the Dodgers placed outfielder Matt Kemp on the 15-day disabled list and activated left-hander Ted Lilly. Kemp’s move is backdated to July 22, meaning he is eligible to return on Aug. 6, but Mattingly said Kemp might need more time.

NOTES: The game was briefly halted in the fourth after home plate umpire Will Little was hit on the left arm by a pitch from Nolasco. Little remained in the game, but left the field for treatment in the middle of the sixth. … Blue Jays RHP Brandon Morrow will have more tests on his sore right forearm. Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos said it is hard to be optimistic that Morrow will be able to return this season.

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