video thumbnail

MIN@LAA: Wilson solid over 7 1/3 frames vs. Twins

The Blue Jays matched their season-best winning streak of four games with a 4-0 win over the Angels on Friday and improved to 6-2 against the American League West.

Henderson Alvarez threw a complete-game shutout a night after Brandon Morrow did the same, marking the first time two Blue Jays have achieved the feat in back-to-back games since 1993. It was also a franchise-record 29th consecutive start a Blue Jays pitcher has thrown at least five innings.

"I don't think you can just look at one thing as the reason why the innings increase is there," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "J.P. [Arencibia] is one of them, through familiarity, through a more efficient defender behind the plate. It's our overall defense that is as big of a contributor to all of it as well."

Los Angeles has received strong pitching from its staff also, but has been snakebitten by a struggling offense, and sit 7 1/2 games behind the AL West-leading Rangers.

Angels pitchers have thrown the most quality starts in the AL, including in 13 of their past 14 starts, giving the team reason to believe better times may be just around the corner.

"I think the starting pitchers, after a little bump in the beginning of the season, have really turned it around," Angels starter Dan Haren said. "Everyone's throwing the ball well right now, so if we can stay like this and get the bats going a little bit, I'm sure we'll be fine.

"Earlier in the year, we were falling behind a lot because of the starting pitching. And it's tough to play catch-up."

Saturday's start will feature two pitchers who have started the season strong in Blue Jays right-hander Kyle Drabek and C.J. Wilson of the Angels.

Drabek carries a 2-2 record and 2.40 ERA into his sixth start of the season, coming off a career-high eight-strikeout performance against Texas.

Wilson, meanwhile, has proved to be a strong offseason acquisition for the Angels, as he's recorded a quality start in all five of his outings, going 3-2 with a 2.70 ERA. The lefty has held opposing hitters to a .177 average over 33 1/3 innings.

Angels: Santana receiving no support
Ervin Santana has turned in two consecutive quality starts and is coming off his best performance of the season in a losing cause Friday. The right-hander struck out a season-high 10, but his offense failed to score a run for him for the fifth straight time.

In Santana's last five starts, the Angels have been outscored, 24-0. The last time Los Angeles scored a run when Santana was on the mound was in the third inning of an April 8 game against Kansas City.

• Jordan Walden was removed as closer last week after struggling to start the season and to allow him more time to work on the command of his slider.

He saw action in the first of four games with Toronto and manager Mike Scioscia was impressed with his scoreless inning.

"It was a step forward, it was definitely a step forward," Scioscia said. "His breaking ball was very effective. It was good to get him back out there. We certainly need Jordan to start working toward the back end of our bullpen. When it happens, it'll happen on its own time. But that was encouraging last night."

Walden has a 6.75 ERA and 2.06 WHIP over seven appearances.

• Albert Pujols' average dipped to .194 after going 0-for-4 in Friday's loss to Toronto.

The nine-time All-Star has failed to hit a home run in 108 consecutive at-bats, marking the longest homerless streak of his career.

Pujols, who has 445 career home runs, hit the third most in the National League last season with 37.

Blue Jays: Bautista heating up
Jose Bautista went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and hit his fifth home run of the season in Toronto's 4-0 win over the Angels on Friday. The slugger has been mired in season-long slump at the plate but has hit two home runs in his last four games.

"I do know what I'm capable of doing, and when I don't do it I hold myself accountable and it frustrates me," Bautista recently said.

Bautista is the two-time defending Major League home run champion, hitting a combined 97 homers the past two seasons.

• Alvarez won consecutive starts for the first time in his career with the win over the Angels. The 22- year-old improved to 2-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.43. It was also the first time the right-hander has thrown a shutout.

• Yunel Escobar improved to 8-for-13 since being move to the No. 2 spot in the batting order. Farrell switched Escobar and Kelly Johnson in the lineup for the first time in Wednesday's game against Texas, and his shortstop has responded nicely. Escobar has scored a run in each game since the move and is riding a modest four-game hit streak. Comments