TORONTO (AP) — Bill McKinney made the most of his first opportunity since being recalled from the minors.
McKinney’s two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted the Toronto Blue Jays to a 7-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night to avoid a four-game sweep.
Randal Grichuk singled with one out and McKinney, who entered the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning, went deep off Ty Buttrey (4-4) in his first at-bat since being recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday. It was McKinney’s fourth homer of the season.
“I understand that we have a lot of left-handed batters,” the 24-year-old McKinney said. “There are a lot of different scenarios that can happen, and you have to wait for the opportunity.”
Nick Kingham (1-0) pitched a scoreless top of the 10th to get the win.
The Blue Jays led 5-3 before the Angels pulled within one on Luis Rengifo’s RBI single to shallow in the top of the sixth, and tied it on Albert Pujols’ sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Rengifo, who homered earlier in the game, finished with three hits, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Toronto had an opportunity to take the lead in the eighth inning, but rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit into a double play with the bases loaded to end the inning.
NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard attended the game with his girlfriend Kishele Shipley. They arrived fashionably late to an ovation in the top of the fourth inning as they took their front-row seats beside the Blue Jays dugout. The Toronto Raptors star was serenaded with an M-V-P, M-V-P chant and given a standing ovation. He was caught yawning after a week of celebrating the Raptors’ NBA title and left in the bottom of seventh inning.
McKinney admitted he stole a few glances at Leonard, who sat in the first row beside the Blue Jays dugout.
“That was pretty cool that he came to the game today,” McKinney said. “I’m a huge fan of his. I love the way he goes about his business and what he’s done for the city.”
Blue Jays starter Clayton Richard had a different take on the hubbub and ovation when Leonard and Shipley arrived.
“I got 0-and-2 on (Kole) Calhoun, and I thought, man,” Richard said, describing the change in atmosphere. “I know I hadn’t been 0-2 on a lot of hitters, but they really got excited for that one.”
The Blue Jays grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first inning after Eric Sogard — who had three hits and reached base five times — opened with a double and scored on Lourdes Gurriel Jr. ‘s single to left field with one out. Teoscar Hernandez then homered to right with two outs.
Los Angeles pulled to 3-2 on Rengifo’s two-run homer in the second.
Sogard homered in the bottom of the inning to push Toronto’s lead to 4-2. He added a single in the fourth and walked twice in his final two plate appearances.
The Angels pulled within one again in the fifth. Rengifo singled to left, advanced to third on Dustin Garneau’s double, and scored on scored on Wilfredo Tovar’s grounder.
Gurriel hit his ninth homer of the season in the fifth to push Toronto’s lead to 5-3.
Los Angeles starter Jose Suarez gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings.
Richard allowed four runs and six hits in five innings for Toronto.
MEET ALBERT IN St. Louis
Pujols will return to St. Louis with the Angels for a three-game weekend series against the Cardinals for the first time since leaving his former team for Los Angeles in 2012. Pujols won two World Series and three MVPs in his 11 years in St. Louis.
SETBACK FOR SIMMONS
Los Angeles SS Andrelton Simmons suffered a minor setback in his rehab stint from a left ankle sprain. The Angels reported the infielder experienced some discomfort after back-to-back outings with the rookie-league Orem Owlz and he has returned to Los Angeles for treatment.
Simmons was supposed to join the Angels to finish their road trip this weekend. Instead, manager Brad Ausmus expects Simmons to rejoin the Angels at some point during their homestand next week.
Angels: C Kevan Smith was placed on 10-day injured list with an injured left hand, retroactive to June 19. He has been replaced by C Dustin Garneau. … RHP Cody Allen cleared waivers and has been unconditionally released.
Blue Jays: RHP Ken Giles was activated from the 10-day injured list. To make room for the reliever on the 25-man roster, RHP Justin Shafer was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.
Angels: RHP Griffin Canning (2-3, 3.93 ERA) will open the weekend series in St. Louis. He will be opposed by Michael Wacha (4-3, 6.00).
Blue Jays: RHP Trent Thornton (2-5, 4.36) starts for Toronto in the opener of a series at Boston against Chris Sale (3-7, 3.49).
More AP baseball coverage: www.apnews.com/MLB and www.twitter.com/AP_Sports