The Los Angeles Angels own the best home record in the majors, but they’re not playing that way lately.
The Angels conclude their seven-game homestand on Sunday when they meet the Toronto Blue Jays in the finale of their four-game set.
Los Angeles (75-54) is an impressive 43-20 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim and beat the New York Yankees 18-9 there on Tuesday in its best offensive performance of the season. The Angels have dropped three of four games since then, however, getting outscored 22-11.
They fell 9-2 to Toronto (65-64) on Saturday, giving up four runs in the ninth inning to put the game out of reach, but remained one game ahead of Seattle in the AL West. The Blue Jays scored their most runs since Aug. 8, and reached double digits in hits for the first time in the last eight games.
“I’m pretty sure that I’ll never make 3,000 hits and won’t be a 500-home run guy, but this is a nice accomplishment,” Zaun said. “It’s some degree of longevity.”
The Blue Jays, who have won two of three games in this series, totaled seven doubles in the win and extended their streak of consecutive games with a two-base hit to 32, breaking the previous franchise mark set in 2004.
Toronto has won four of six games between the teams this season while posting a 2.21 ERA.
The Angels hope for a better showing in the finale with Kelvim Escobar (14-6, 2.85 ERA) on the mound as they are 10-3 in his 13 home starts. The right-hander is trying to win a season-high fourth straight overall start.
He dropped three consecutive games from July 24-Aug. 4 despite posting a 2.45 ERA as he received just two total runs of support. Escobar has bounced back by winning three in a row, including that rout of the Yankees on Tuesday when his teammates gave him plenty of help.
The 31-year-old veteran allowed five runs and five hits over six innings while walking three and striking out seven. It was his most runs allowed since June 29 and snapped a stretch of eight consecutive quality outings.
“It was nice to get all those runs and be able to relax,” Escobar told the Angels’ official Web site.
Escobar’s recent winning streak also includes a 4-3 victory over Toronto on Aug. 16, when he limited the Blue Jays to just one run and five hits through seven innings. He didn’t issue a walk and struck out nine to improve to 3-3 with a 1.98 ERA in six career starts against his former team.
Escobar played his first seven seasons with the Blue Jays, going 58-55 with a 4.58 ERA in 301 games, including 101 starts, from 1997-2003.
Dustin McGowan (8-7, 4.19) opposed Escobar in that Aug. 16 meeting and will do so again. McGowan gave up four runs through six-plus innings to take the defeat and is 0-1 with a 3.12 ERA in three career games versus the Angels.
The right-hander has gotten just one run of support in each of his last three starts, losing two of them. He allowed three runs and five hits over five innings on Tuesday, but didn’t factor into the 6-4 defeat to Oakland.
McGowan walked four, struck out a season high-tying seven and retired the final nine batters he faced. Prior to his current skid, McGowan had won three consecutive decisions.