The Los Angeles Angels hope their bats are heating up in time for them to make one final push for a postseason berth.
Looking to continue their recent success at the plate, the Angels try to conclude the road portion of their schedule with a third consecutive win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night.
After falling 3-2 in 10 innings Monday at Toronto, Los Angeles (85-70) has totaled 17 runs and 29 hits while winning the next two in the series. Peter Bourjos(notes) and Maicer Izturis(notes) each had three hits while Vernon Wells(notes) homered and drove in four runs in Wednesday’s 7-2 win at Rogers Centre.
While the Angels improved to 5-4 on their final 10-game trip, they also moved into a second-place tie with Tampa Bay in the wild-card race, 2 1/2 games behind struggling Boston.
“We’ve put ourselves in a position where if someone stubs their toe, we’ve got a chance,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We need help, no doubt, but we need to keep winning.”
Bourjos hit his 12th homer and also tripled to became the first player in Angels history with at least 25 doubles, 10 triples, 10 homers and 20 stolen bases in a single season. The second-year outfielder is 8 for 16 in his last four games at Toronto.
Wells, the former Blue Jay, is 9 for 22 with three homers and nine RBIs in his last five games.
“Anything you can do to help this team win is good,” Wells said.
Ervin Santana(notes) (11-12, 3.40 ERA) looks to avoid a fourth straight losing start when he takes the mound for the Angels in the finale. The right-hander allowed five runs - all in the first on two homers - in seven innings of a 6-2 loss at Baltimore on Saturday to fall to 0-3 with a 4.74 ERA since winning at Seattle on Sept. 1.
Santana, however, improved to 1-1 with a 2.12 ERA against the Blue Jays (78-77) this year when he allowed a homer to Eric Thames(notes) and six other hits to record his fourth complete game of the season in a 5-1 victory at Toronto on Aug. 12.
Thames homered Wednesday and is 7 for 13 in this series.
While Thames continues to play well, fellow rookie Brett Lawrie(notes) is done for the season after he broke his middle finger while fielding ground balls during practice Wednesday. The third baseman batted .293 with nine homers and 25 RBIs in 43 games.
The right-hander had allowed three runs in 21 innings while going 1-0 in his previous three starts before he gave up five in six innings and could not hold a five-run lead in a 7-6 loss to the Yankees on Saturday in his eighth career outing.
“If you make mistakes, you’re going to pay for it, but those are things that I’m learning and I’m going to continue to learn,” Alvarez told the Blue Jays’ official website.
Alvarez is 0-1 with a 4.40 ERA in five home starts.