The Anaheim Angels' playoff hopes dimmed on Thursday after Edwin Encarnacion slammed a 12th inning walkoff homer to lift the Toronto Blue Jays a 4-3 win.
Locked in a fierce fight with Boston and Tampa Bay for the American League wildcard, the Angels slipped three games behind the Red Sox and one back of the Rays, who pounded the New York Yankees 15-8.
These guys have played hard for a long time, we played well we just didn't get it done tonight, Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters.
Every game becomes more important than the one you just played. We can't do anything about tonight. We're not looking back.
We're in this, we need to win every pitch and hope it adds up to winning games. That is our mindset.
The results on Thursday helped set the stage for a dramatic finish to the AL regular season as the Angels immediately returned to the West Coast where they will close out the campaign with a six-game home stand starting on Friday against the Oakland Athletics.
A split of their four-game series in Toronto has left the Angels with a tough uphill climb but still within reach of the collapsing Red Sox, who have won just five of 21 games in September and grimly hanging onto the wildcard.
Boston close out on the road, beginning with a three-game series against the Yankees, who would love nothing better than end the post-season hopes of their hated rivals.
These guys are motivated, the pennant race keeps you motivated, said Scioscia. Our guys are hungry.
We want it, we didn't get it done tonight but they know what the stakes are.
We not only have to play well, we finish games off and we have to win.
Toronto's final home game of 2011 ended in dramatic fashion, as Encarnacion took a 3-2 offering from Garrett Richards and drove it down the left line clearing the fence just inside the foul pole bringing the fans who remained to their feet.
The Blue Jays have had a habit of leaving it late this season going 11-0 at home in extra-inning games and becoming the first Major League team to win 10 or more extra-inning home games without a loss.