TORONTO – Billy McKinney made the most of his first at-bat since May 23.
“Being here is nice and I’m just grateful for the opportunity,” McKinney said following his first career walk-off homer, a two-run shot in the bottom of the 10th inning, as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Los Angeles Angels 7-5 at the Rogers Centre on Thursday.
Called up from Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday, it took a couple of games and the right situation before McKinney was able to get into a game. He pinch-ran for Rowdy Tellez in the eighth inning.
“So far, the three guys we have sent down before they came back, are doing good,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo, who was also referring to Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who each had home runs.
Eric Sogard also had a homer for the Blue Jays (27-48).
Nick Kingham (2-1) picked up the victory after pitching in the 10th inning.
Toronto starter Clayton Richard left the game in line for a win, but Albert Pujols’s sacrifice fly RBI in the seventh inning stopped him from getting his first win of the season. He went five innings plus one batter and allowed four runs on six hits and walked two batters while striking out two.
“It was a baby step in the right direction,” Richard said. “I was able to get ahead (in the count) on more pitchers today and throw the ball over the plate a little more consistently.”
Richard is still without a win this season (0-3).
Luis Rengifo drove in three runs including a two-run homer for the Angels (38-38), which failed to complete a four-game sweep in Toronto.
Ty Buttrey (4-4) collected the loss, after surrendering the McKinney homer.
The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the bottom of the first when Cavan Biggio hit a sacrifice fly to centre field, which was deep enough to score Sogard from third base for a 1-0 lead. The very next batter, Hernandez would unload on a 3-1 fastball from Suarez to right field for a two-run homer and Toronto led 3-0.
In the second inning, Rengifo jumped on a 1-1 fastball pitch from Richard to left field for a two-run homer, which cut Toronto’s lead to 3-2.
Later in the inning, Sogard hit a solo shot to right field which gave Toronto a 4-2 lead.
In the fifth frame, Wilfredo Tovar hit an RBI ground-out which Toronto’s lead down to 4-3. But in the bottom half, Gurriel hit a solo homer to right-field, which restored Toronto’s two-run lead to 5-3.
In the sixth inning, Rengifo would pick up his third RBI of the game, a single with the bases loaded to cut Toronto’s lead to 5-4.
In the seventh inning, Pujols hit a sac fly RBI which tied the game 5-5.
Ken Giles was activated from the 10-day injured list (elbow) and pitched a perfect ninth inning while recording two strikeouts.
“We wanted to use him in a low-leverage situation and right before the game he said, ‘no nevermind, I’d rather pitch when it counts.”
Notes: Toronto optioned Justin Shafer to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for Giles on the 25-man roster. Angels center fielder Mike Trout reached base in his 16th consecutive game in Toronto.
© 2019 The Canadian Press