By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
GAME 29 - ANGELS AT BLUE JAYS
TORONTO -- The streak is over. Both of them, in fact.
The Angels' eight-game winning streak and the Toronto Blue Jays' nine-game losing streak ended Saturday afternoon with the Blue Jays' 4-1 win before 20,558 at SkyDome.
Angels pitcher Scott Schoeneweis gave up four runs (three earned) in seven innings, which would have been good enough to win in any of the previous seven games, but not on Saturday.
The Angels offense, which averaged 9.4 runs per game during the winning streak, didn't score after the first inning and went 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position. The Angels' 3-4-5 hitters -- Garret Anderson, Troy Glaus and Tim Salmon -- went a combined 1 for 11.
''We had opportunities,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''Their guy made some terrific pitches.''
''Their guy'' was Blue Jays starter Justin Miller, who was making just his second career start. The first one came last week in Anaheim when the Angels beat him and the Blue Jays, 11-4.
Saturday, the Angels had at least one runner in scoring position in seven of the nine innings. Going into the game, they were hitting .321 as a team with runners in scoring position.
While Miller (7 innings, 1 run, 4 hits) was able to get out of a few tough spots, he also got a key break early in the game. The Angels had runners on first and third with one out in the third inning when Orlando Palmeiro hit a rope up the middle. Problem was, Darin Erstad tried to steal second on the pitch, so shortstop Felipe Lopez broke to cover second.
Lopez fielded the ball while standing on second base and threw to first to first for the double play. Instead of an RBI single and possibly the beginning of a big inning, the Angels wouldn't come that close to scoring again.
The lack of offense made it tough for Schoeneweis, who has become the club's hard-luck loser. Schoeneweis (1-4) has pitched poorly in a couple starts, but even in games he's pitched well enough to win, he hasn't. And it didn't make him feel any better than he was on the mound when the winning streak was broken.
''It would be nice to think we'd win 140 games in a row,'' Schoeneweis said. ''The streak had to end sometime. Unfortunately, it was my day to pitch. I'm sure we'll start a new streak (today).''
The Angels got on the scoreboard in the first inning when David Eckstein walked, stole second, went to third on Erstad's grounder to first and scored on Palmeiro's sacrifice fly.
But the lead only lasted until the bottom of the first when the Blue Jays used a hit batsman, a walk, a single and a double to score two runs and take the lead for good.
The Angels' defense didn't exactly give Schoeneweis the support he needed either. Third baseman Troy Glaus made an error in the second inning, but Schoeneweis was able to get out of the inning without giving up a run.
In the fourth, Eckstein dropped a throw from Schoeneweis that should have started an inning-ending double play, but instead the Blue Jays went on to score an unearned run.
''We've got a few things to clean up, but we will,'' Scioscia said. ''Right now Troy's going through a little rough spot at third. But for the most part we've made the plays we've needed to.''
The Angels had one final chance to get even in the ninth inning after Glaus and Brad Fullmer walked. But with two out, Bengie Molina's deep fly to left field landed harmlessly in the glove of Jose Cruz Jr., ending the game and the streak.
''Even if we didn't win as many games as we did during the streak, I think the team could still feel the momentum,'' Scioscia said. ''We've been very consistent for a couple weeks, and that's what it's going to take.''
TORONTO -- Scott Schoeneweis will leave for his Arizona home today to be with his wife, Gabrielle, who is scheduled to have labor induced on Monday. It will be the couple's first child together, a boy named Hudson.
It will also be a chance for Schoeneweis to forget his troubles on the mound. Schoeneweis added a changeup to his repertoire during the offseason so that he wouldn't be a .500 pitcher with a 5.00 ERA anymore.
Well, he's not. He's 1-4 with a 6.03 ERA in six starts. He hasn't won in his past five starts, but not all of it is his own doing. He's given up three earned runs or fewer in four of his six starts and gone at least seven innings in the same four.
He just hasn't gotten any breaks.
''You guys (reporters) look at the end results, the win-loss record, the ERA,'' he said. ''If I looked at that, I'd retire. ... All I can do to keep myself sane is continue to do what I'm doing if I'm throwing well, and if I'm not, make an adjustment.''
Saturday, Schoeneweis gave up four runs (three earned) and nine hits in seven innings. But the defense made two errors behind him, balls that were not hit well found holes and Schoeneweis was left to deal with it.
''Once the ball is out of my hand, I can't really do anything about it,'' he said.
That leaves the Angels coaches, particularly pitching coach Bud Black, to serve as psychologist to Schoeneweis.
''If we scored 10 runs, or 21, we probably wouldn't be talking,'' Black said. ''We try to give him a long-term perspective. If he pitches well -- not exactly like today but along the same lines -- he's going to be fine.
''He's very hard on himself. We've had talks about staying positive, it'll only get better, your day will come, all those things. He just has to trust his abilities.''
Brad Fullmer, normally the Angels' designated hitter, got his fourth start of the season at first base Saturday and played well defensively. He also got two hits to raise his season average to .241.
''He's been making some adjustments,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ''He's working more efficiently. He's not going down there (to the batting cage) and taking mindless swings and pounding the ball. He's settling into a comfort zone. This guy's going to hit.''
Fullmer has no problem being an every-day DH, but playing in the field does have its advantages, he said.
''Sometimes it's good to take your attention off your at-bats if you're not swinging that well,'' Fullmer said. ''I'm not there yet. I'm trying to break a couple bad habits and work my way out of it. But I am swinging better.''
Garret Anderson's eight-game hitting streak ended Saturday when he went 0 for 4. ... During their eight-game winning streak, the Angels outscored their opponents, 75-23, batted .334 and had a team ERA of 2.22.