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Angels falter in wild chase

They’re 3 back after losing to Jays in 12

Associated Press / September 23, 2011

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If they want to play in October, the Los Angeles Angels have a lot of work to do in the final week of the season.

Edwin Encarnacion hit a game-ending home run in the 12th inning and the Blue Jays beat Los Angeles, 4-3, last night at Toronto, dealing the Angels another blow in their chase for a playoff berth.

“We just let it slip away from us today,’’ infielder Howie Kendrick said.

The loss dropped the Angels three games behind the idle Red Sox in the wild-card race. Tampa Bay, which won in New York, closed to within two games of the Sox.

Despite failing to gain ground, manager Mike Scioscia tried to put a positive spin on the situation.

“These guys have played hard for a long time and we’re playing well,’’ Scioscia said. “We just didn’t get it done tonight.’’

The Angels close their season with a six-game homestand, starting with three against Oakland followed by three against West-leading Texas.

“At this point, we can’t lose any more games,’’ righthander Ervin Santana said. “Now we have to play hard, finish strong and see what happens.’’

Encarnacion led off the 12th with a drive down the left-field line off Garrett Richards (0-2), his 17th homer of the season.

“[Richards] was throwing the ball well, he just left a 3-2 breaking ball over the heart of the plate and Encarnacion didn’t miss it,’’ Scioscia said.

Encarnacion turned to watch the ball and with his right arm kept trying to wave it fair. The ball ended up just inside the foul pole.

“I had to,’’ Encarnacion said. “I didn’t want the ball to go foul.’’

Shawn Camp (5-3) worked one inning for the win as the Blue Jays improved to 11-0 in extra inning games at home.

Toronto is the first team in recorded history to win 10 or more extra-inning home games without a defeat.

Mets 8, Cardinals 6 - St. Louis blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning and hurt its wild-card hopes when shortstop Rafael Furcal misplayed a potential double-play grounder, allowing visiting New York to rally to victory.

The loss dropped St. Louis two games behind idle Atlanta in the NL wild-card race. Each team has six games left.

Ahead, 6-2, the Cardinals walked three batters in helping the Mets take the lead with a six-run burst. Willie Harris drew a walk to begin the inning and capped it with a tiebreaking, two-run single with two outs.

Dodgers 8, Giants 2 - Matt Kemp went 4 for 5 with a two-run homer and a career-high three doubles in his final home game of the season, Juan Rivera homered and drove in three runs and host Los Angeles pushed San Francisco to the brink of elimination in the NL West playoff race.

The Giants open a three-game series at first-place Arizona today and a victory by the Diamondbacks would eliminate the defending World Series champions.

Nationals 6, Phillies 1 - Brad Peacock, making just his second major league start, pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings and Michael Morse hit a three-run homer to lead Washington to a four-game sweep in Philadelphia.

Roger Bernadina drove in two runs for the Nationals (76-79), who handed the division champions their sixth straight loss. Washington has won five straight overall and eight in a row on the road, and needs to win five of its last six for the organization’s first season over .500 since 2003.

Athletics 4, Rangers 3 - Coco Crisp hit a go-ahead single in the eighth inning, and host Oakland beat first-place Texas to avoid a series sweep.

Grant Balfour (5-2) pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for the win, then Andrew Bailey finished for his 21st save in 23 chances as the A’s snapped Texas’s four-game winning streak and handed the Rangers just their second loss in 10 games.

Orioles 6, Tigers 5 - J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones homered and Baltimore ruined Detroit’s homecoming.

Back home from a road trip during which they clinched their first division title since 1987, the Tigers were given a standing ovation when they took the field for the first inning.

Indians 11, White Sox 2 - Asdrubal Cabrera drove in five runs and Jeanmar Gomez won his fifth straight start for host Cleveland.

Gomez (5-2) gave up one earned run and four hits over six innings. Since being recalled from Triple A Columbus Aug. 30, he is 5-0 with a 1.80 ERA.

Twins 3, Mariners 2 - Rene Tosoni hit an RBI double with two outs in the ninth inning and Minnesota snapped its 11-game losing streak, beating Seattle in Minneapolis.

Astros 9, Rockies 6 - Carlos Lee doubled and drove in four runs, pinch-hitter Matt Downs knocked in three more and host Houston extended Colorado’s losing streak to a season-high eight games.

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