ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Los Angeles closer Francisco Rodriguez walked Corie Koskie with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to force in the tying run and pinch-hitter Frank Catalanotto followed with a sacrifice fly, lifting the Toronto Blue Jays to a 4-3 victory over the Angels on Tuesday night.

Left-hander Joe Saunders pitched 7 1-3 innings in his major league debut for the Angels and left with a 3-2 lead. But Rodriguez couldn’t hold it and was charged with his fifth blown save in 32 attempts as the Angels had a four-game winning streak snapped.

The Blue Jays loaded the bases against Rodriguez (2-3) on Shea Hillenbrand’s single, a walk and a bunt single up the third base line by Gregg Zaun. Koskie worked the count to 3-2 before the next pitch missed the outside corner, allowing Hillenbrand to score. Pinch-hitter Eric Hinske scored on Catalanotto’s fly to right.

Brandon League (1-0) pitched 1 1-3 hitless innings of relief for the win and Miguel Batista got three outs for his 22nd save.

Saunders allowed two runs and five hits, struck out two and walked two in an emergency start for Paul Byrd, who was held out for precautionary reasons with back spasms.

The 11-year veteran, whose next scheduled start is Sunday, said before the game that he could have pitched against the Blue Jays after getting treatment a couple of days earlier from the team’s chiropractor.

Saunders, the 12th overall pick in the 2002 draft out of Virginia Tech, retired 13 of his first 14 batters. The 24-year-old rookie, who was promoted from Triple-A Salt Lake, was working on three days’ rest after allowing four hits in eight scoreless innings on Friday.

Hillenbrand drove his ninth pitch of the game into the second tier of the left field bullpen leading off the second for his 17th homer.

The Blue Jays didn’t get another hit until Koskie singled in the fifth after a one-out walk to Zaun. But Saunders escaped the threat by retiring Alex Rios on a double-play grounder.

Saunders left in the eighth after giving up a single to Orlando Hudson and walking Russ Adams. Scot Shields came on and after a double steal, Hudson was thrown out at the plate on Reed Johnson’s grounder to first baseman Darin Erstad, and Vernon Wells grounded out.

The Angels, whose previous three games against the Blue Jays all went extra innings, tied it in the second when Vladimir Guerrero singled and scored on a double-play grounder by Juan Rivera.

The Angels made it 3-1 in the fifth on RBI singles by Adam Kennedy and Chone Figgins. Wells brought Toronto a run closer in the sixth with a two-out RBI single.

Angels starter Scott Downs allowed three runs, six hits and three walks in 6 2-3 innings, striking out six.

Notes: The MRI taken Monday on Toronto LHP Ted Lilly came back negative. Lilly, sidelined since July 25 because of tendinitis in his biceps, is hoping to get at least one rehab outing before the minor league season ends. … Angels LF Garret Anderson sat out his third straight game because of tightness in his lower back. He was examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum, who ordered additional lab work. Anderson missed 43 games last season because of inflammatory arthritis in his upper back. … Yocum took an MRI and a bone scan on the left hip of Angels rookie 3B Dallas McPherson. The tests revealed irritation in the hip joint, and McPherson will be examined Wednesday by hip specialist Dr. Marc Philipon in Vail, Colo.

AP-ES-08-17-05 0048EDT


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