The Los Angeles Angels kept their scoreless innings streak going Friday night, and Jerome Williams is hoping he can add to it while building up his own little modest stretch.
Williams sets out to end a winless spell of nearly three months Saturday night when the Angels continue their series with the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
Angels pitchers have put up 22 consecutive zeroes after Jered Weaver and two relievers combined on a six-hitter in Friday's 5-0 victory. Los Angeles (61-72), currently 6-1 on this nine-game road swing, has a 1.60 staff ERA on this trip and is trying to post three straight shutouts for the first time since Sept. 28-Oct. 1, 1974.
"Weaver wasn't quite as crisp, but that just shows how creative he can get, just changing speeds and moving the ball around to get through six innings,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
While Williams (5-10, 4.69 ERA) seems an unlikely candidate to do it all himself, he is coming off a crisp long relief outing Wednesday. The right-hander yielded only one hit in three innings - needing only 33 pitches - in a 4-1 loss at Tampa Bay.
He is winless in 12 starts since defeating Baltimore on June 12, going 0-8 with a 6.79 ERA in that span. Williams - making his first start since Aug. 21 - has split four lifetime starts against the Brewers, whom he has not faced since 2005.
Rookie second baseman Grant Green provided the big hit Friday with a three-run double to highlight a four-run seventh and is 8 for 25 in six games on this trip. Since being recalled Aug. 6 following his acquisition from Oakland, he's hitting .310 overall in 21 games but .370 (17 for 46) in 14 on the road.
Milwaukee (59-75) has been shut out six times this year, but three have come in August. The Brewers stranded 13 runners and went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position Friday.
Marco Estrada (6-4, 4.44) is out to win consecutive starts for the first time this year after his best outing of the season. The right-hander struck out a season-high nine over seven scoreless innings Sunday, relying on effective off-speed pitches to limit the Reds to one hit and two walks in a 3-1 road victory.
"He had great command of his changeup,'' manager Ron Roenicke said. "He was throwing his curveball for strikes down in the zone and spotted his fastball well. When he's got his changeup going and his curve going, they have to think about it and he can get his fastball by them.''
Estrada has pitched well since coming off the disabled list earlier this month following a hamstring injury, going 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in four starts, yielding five runs - four of which have scored on three home runs - in 24 innings. Three of those outings came on the road, though, where Estrada has a 2.53 ERA in nine starts - nearly five runs lower than his 7.43 at Miller Park.
This will be his first appearance versus the Angels.
Estrada may avoid facing Josh Hamilton, who missed Friday's game with a sore left shoulder. Scioscia is hoping to have him back for this game, telling the team's official website, "It's getting better than it was a couple of days ago, but it's still bothering him a little bit."
Hamilton is 14 for 36 (.389) with four homers, three doubles and a triple in 10 lifetime games versus the Brewers.