ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - One night after Jered Weaver threw the majors' second no-hitter of the season, it was back to normal for the scuffling Angels.
Los Angeles managed just three hits against Brandon Morrow, and J.P. Arencibia hit a three-run homer to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 5-0 victory on Thursday.
The Angels supported Weaver with 15 hits in a 9-0 win over Minnesota on Wednesday, but they struggled against Morrow, who earned his second career shutout.
Albert Pujols' career-worst home run drought reached 32 games and 133 at_bats after he went 0 for 3, lowering his average to .202. The three-time NL MVP, who signed a 10-year, $240 million contract in December as a free agent, has just five RBIs in 104 at_bats.
``He's obviously scuffling. Everyone knows that,' losing pitcher Dan Haren said. ``He cares more than anybody else. He's one of the first guys here. He's constantly watching video. It's not for lack of effort. It'll turn around. He's one of the greatest hitters of all time. Guys are pitching him inside and sliders away. You'd think they'd make some mistakes. But they're doing a good job and he's just missed the mistakes.'
Six more at_bats by Pujols without a long ball would eclipse Eddie Murray's 1996 record for the longest home run drought at the start of a season (109) by anyone with at least 400 career homers, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Murray finished his Hall of Fame career with 504. Pujols hit 445 over his 11 previous big league seasons - all with the St. Louis Cardinals.
``For a guy that's had as much success as he has, I'm sure that he might wish to be in a different position than he is right now,' said third baseman Mark Trumbo, whose throwing error in the sixth let in two runs. ``But he's handled it as well as anybody I can possibly imagine, as far as staying upbeat and not showing any outward frustration.'
Still basking in the afterglow of Weaver's gem, the Angels were counting on Haren (1-2) to continue the momentum. But the three-time All-Star was charged with five runs - three earned - and five hits over seven innings in his sixth start.
Haren gave up a single to center by Brett Lawrie on his first pitch of the third, ending a streak of 17 1-3 consecutive hitless innings by Angels pitchers (54 batters) following Weaver's gem and Jerome Williams' complete-game shutout. The streak technically began with Williams' inning-ending pickoff of Denard Span.
Lawrie was the first of four consecutive batters to hit safely in the third - in a span of just five pitches. Colby Rasmus bunted his way on before Arencibia, the Blue Jays' No. 9 hitter, drove the next pitch into the left-field bullpen for his second homer of the season. He came in 0 for 9 against Haren.
``They got aggressive on me,' Haren said. ``They changed their strategy after the first two innings and they adjusted to me. I was going with first-pitch strikes, attacking the zone, and they came after me.'
Toronto added two more runs on the error by Trumbo, a converted third baseman who made a key defensive play on a bunt to help preserve Weaver's no-no. Trumbo fielded a two-out grounder in the hole by Edwin Encarnacion and threw the ball into the runner as first baseman Pujols backed off to avoid a collision. Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar scored on Trumbo's fourth error of the season.
Morrow (3-1) won his third straight start, striking out eight and walking none to help the Blue Jays open an 11-game trip with their fifth win in their last six overall. The only Angels hits were a pair of singles by rookie Mike Trout and a leadoff double in the ninth by Trumbo that ended a string of 14 consecutive batters retired.
NOTES: The game lasted just 2 hours, 11 minutes ... Los Angeles traded INF Alexi Amarista and minor league RHP Donn Roach to San Diego for RHP Ernesto Frieri, who was 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in 11 relief appearances this season with the Padres. ... The Angels will be sending jerseys from Weaver and C Chris Iannetta to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, along with one of the authenticated baseballs Weaver threw in his no-hitter.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved