TORONTO (AP) – Another pretty grand game for Steve Pearce.
Pearce hit his second game-ending grand slam in just four days and the Toronto Blue Jays pulled off the biggest ninth-inning comeback in team history, rallying for seven runs to beat the Los Angeles Angels 11-10 Sunday.
Pearce connected with one out off former Baltimore teammate Bud Norris (1-4).
“We kept fighting all the way to the end,” Pearce said. “We showed great resilience as a team.”
Pearce said he typically doesn’t like batting against former teammates, but felt he had the upper hand after Norris fell behind 2-0.
“He missed pretty bad on the first two pitches, so I was able to really lock in on the next pitch,” Pearce said.
On Thursday, Pearce’s slam with two outs in the 10th inning lifted Toronto over Oakland 8-4.
Pearce became just third player to hit two game-ending grand slams in the same season, joining Cy Williams (Phillies, 1926) and Jim Presley (Seattle, 1986). Presley later served as Pearce’s hitting coach with the Orioles.
On two prior occasions, the Blue Jays had won games by scoring five runs in the ninth.
“A crazy day,” manager John Gibbons said. “You don’t see that coming.”
Toronto trailed 10-4 heading into the ninth against Brooks Pounders, but drew closer on Kevin Pillar’s two-run homer. After Rob Refsnyder doubled, Norris took over and gave up a single to Ezequiel Carrera and an RBI single by Russell Martin. Justin Smoak grounded out and Kendrys Morales walked before Pearce connected for his 10th homer.
Matt Dermody (1-0) worked three innings for his first career win.
Albert Pujols hit two home runs for the Angels, who were bidding for their first sweep since May. Los Angeles lost for the first time this season when leading by three or more runs.
“I don’t think we let anything slip away,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think those guys took it.”
Pujols entered hitless in his previous 24 at-bats, two shy of matching his career-worst skid, but snapped out of the slump with a two-run drive off Cesar Valdez in the first inning. It was his first hit since July 22 against Boston.
Pujols finished 3 for 5 with four RBIs. He hit a run-scoring single in the third and struck out in the fourth before connecting for a solo homer off Mike Bolsinger in the sixth.
“Albert put it together today,” Scioscia said. “Some of the pitches he was missing before, he didn’t miss this afternoon.”
Pujols has 607 career home runs, leaving him two behind Sammy Sosa for eighth place on the career list.
It was Pujols’ first multihomer game of the season and the 56th of his career, breaking a tie with Jimmie Foxx and Ken Griffey Jr. and giving him sole possession of eighth place in that category.
The Angels lost 11-7 at Cleveland last Wednesday when former Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion hit a game-winning grand slam off Norris in the 11th.
George Bell (1988) and Gregg Zaun (2008) are the only other Blue Jays players to hit game-ending grand slams.
Angels: OF Kole Calhoun left in the third because of a sore right hamstring. Shane Robinson pinch ran for Calhoun and took over in right field. Calhoun is expected to undergo an MRI Monday.
Blue Jays: SS Troy Tulowitzki (sprained right ankle) will see a specialist after an MRI Saturday revealed ligament damage. … OF Jose Bautista got his first day off this season. … With 3B Josh Donaldson given the day off, C Russell Martin started at third.
Angels: RHP Ricky Nolasco (4-12, 5.09) starts the opener of a three-game home series against Philadelphia. The Angels have lost each of Nolasco’s past four outings. RHP Aaron Nola (8-6, 3.17) starts for the Phillies.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (4-7, 5.43) starts the opener of a three-game series in Chicago against the White Sox. Estrada is 0-5 with an 8.87 ERA in his past 10 starts. RHP James Shields (2-3, 5.86) will pitch for Chicago.
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