Consistent production at the plate continues to fuel the Los Angeles Angels' resurgence.
The Angels look to stay hot with their bats when they try for a fifth consecutive victory Friday night against the host Toronto Blue Jays.
Albert Pujols had four hits while young stars Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo each hit a two-run homer in Los Angeles' 9-7 win at Toronto on Thursday. The Angels (43-33) have won 25 of their last 33, including 14 of 15 on the road.
Los Angeles has averaged 7.6 runs and hit .355 while winning seven of eight overall.
"If we're going to reach our goal, our lineup has to flow like this," manager Mike Scioscia said.
Trout is batting an AL-leading .345 this season, and .422 (19 for 45) with two home runs and 13 runs scored during a 10-game hitting streak. Trumbo, meanwhile, is 6 for 12 with two homers and five RBIs in his last three games versus Toronto.
Pujols has hit .472 (17 for 36) in his last nine road games for the Angels, who might have a good chance to continue their offensive surge Friday when Toronto's Carlos Villanueva (2-0, 3.24 ERA) comes out of the bullpen to make his first start of 2012.
The right-hander has made 22 relief appearances this season, although he did make 13 starts for the Blue Jays last year, going 5-3 with a 5.15 ERA in those games. Villanueva, 11-15 with a 4.92 ERA in 40 career starts, will be the 10th different starter for a Blue Jays staff that has been hit hard by injuries.
"I was always a starter and I like to be in control of things, so when I'm starting, I'm in control from the first pitch of the game," Villanueva told the Blue Jays' official website. "If they want me to do whatever, I'll do it. I'm getting an opportunity to help the guys out in this role and I'll do the best I can."
Villanueva has thrown six hitless innings and struck out 10 in five relief appearances against the Angels.
He will be opposed by Ervin Santana (4-8, 4.92), who looks for a third consecutive strong start for the Angels.
After tossing a one-hit shutout against Arizona on June 16, Santana allowed three runs - two earned - and four hits while striking out 10 over eight innings of a 3-1 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday.
"I just have to keep pitching and then everything's going to come around to our side," Santana told the Angels' official website.
The right-hander did not get any support versus Toronto on May 4, when he struck out 10 and allowed three runs and three hits in eight innings of a 4-0 loss to fall to 6-5 with a 3.67 ERA in 13 starts against the Blue Jays.
Jose Bautista, who is 6 for 20 with two doubles, two homers and seven walks versus Santana, has homered in consecutive games for the Blue Jays (38-38), who have dropped three in a row. The two-time reigning major league home run champ has hit 14 of his 26 homers over his last 24 games.
Former Angels catcher Jeff Mathis homered and had four hits Thursday for the Blue Jays.
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Los Angeles Angels