Mark Trumbo, Angels batter Jays to aid playoff cause

TORONTO -- Mark Trumbo grew up cheering Tim Salmon from the stands. By season's end, he could replace his former hero in the Angels' rookie record book.

Trumbo hit a three-run homer, Vernon Wells added a solo shot and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Toronto Blue Jays 10-6 on Tuesday night.

Trumbo went 2-for-5 with four RBIs and Erick Aybar stole home as the Angels kept their faint postseason hopes alive. Los Angeles started the night five games behind Texas in the AL West. With Boston losing at home to Baltimore on Tuesday night, the Angels pulled within 3½ games of the Red Sox in the wild card race.

"It's huge," Trumbo said. "We don't have any wiggle room any more. It's do or die for us."

The Angels have eight games remaining, and manager Mike Scioscia hopes his offense is set to finish strong.

"It's in there," Scioscia said. "If our guys can swing the bats to their potential, it's going to put us on a good run. Needless to say, we need it."

Trumbo is on pace to become the first Angels rookie to lead the team in homers and RBIs. The powerful first baseman has 29 home runs and 87 RBIs, leaving him two homers and eight RBIs shy of matching Salmon's rookie records, set in 1993 when Trumbo was seven years old.

"That he's my favorite player, it's a little cool," Trumbo said. "I grew up about 10 minutes from the stadium and really enjoyed watching him. I went to a lot of games and admired what he did."

Wells, who often bats behind Trumbo, said the rookie's potent season has been "fun to watch."

"The scary thing is he's still learning his swing, still learning pitchers in this league," Wells said. "It's going to be fun watching him grow over the next few years."

Joel Pineiro (7-7) allowed four runs and nine hits in six-plus innings to win for the second time in three starts. He walked two and struck out three.

"He pitched well against a lineup that's going to let you know if you're missing your spots," Scioscia said.

Rich Thompson, Bobby Cassevah each worked one inning of relief, Garrett Richards got two outs in the ninth and Scott Downs finished for his first save.

Downs came on with runners at first and second and struck out Colby Rasmus on three pitches for his first save since 2009, when he pitched for the Blue Jays.

Toronto left-hander Brett Cecil's scheduled start last Friday was pushed back after he sliced open his left index finger while cleaning a blender. Facing the Angels on 11 days rest, it appeared the long layoff wasn't much of a help.

The left-hander struck out the side in the first inning but gave up Wells' 23rd homer, a solo drive to left in the second, and was replaced after Los Angeles added three more in the third. Howie Kendrick hit an RBI double and scored on Trumbo's single before Wells doubled home a run.

Cecil (4-10) dropped to 0-6 in eight starts since beating Texas on July 29. He allowed four runs and six hits in three innings, his shortest outing of the season, walked two and struck out three.

Cecil was mystified by manager John Farrell's quick hook.

"Really surprised," Cecil said. "I think that's why I'm at a loss for words. I only had three innings to work. I just can't find the words to really explain anything right now."

The Angels piled on with five more in the fourth against reliever Kyle Drabek. Aybar doubled, went to third on Bobby Wilson's sacrifice and stole home on a wild pitch when Peter Bourjos couldn't get the squeeze bunt down. Bourjos singled, went to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on Drabek's throwing error before scoring on Callaspo's sacrifice fly. Kendrick and Torii Hunter singled before Trumbo crushed a first-pitch homer to left.

Back-to-back doubles by Bourjos and Callaspo made it 10-2 in the sixth.

Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion hit an RBI single in the first and Mike McCoy's groundout scored a run in the second, but the Blue Jays didn't score off Pineiro again until the seventh, when consecutive singles by McCoy and Eric Thames brought Thompson out of the bullpen. Jose Bautista walked to load the bases, Encarnacion hit a sacrifice fly and Kelly Johnson followed with an RBI single. Toronto cut it to 10-5 on Brett Lawrie's fielder's choice grounder before Rasmus struck out to end the rally.

Thames scored from first on Johnson's infield grounder in the ninth when Trumbo couldn't catch second baseman Kendrick's throw. Thames sped to third as the ball rolled into foul territory, then scored standing up when no one covered home plate.

Game notes
Angels OF Mike Trout returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sore left calf. He went 0-for-4. ... Toronto put SS Yunel Escobar (left elbow) on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Sept. 11. Escobar was hit by a pitch from Baltimore's Rick VandenHurk on Sept. 10 and has not played since. Farrell said he hopes Escobar will be able play again before the end of the season. ... McCoy matched his career high with three hits.