J.A. Happ takes the mound opposite Jered Weaver on Monday night when the Toronto Blue Jays pay a visit to Angel Stadium to begin a three-game series.
Happ has been solid since getting roughed up for seven runs in four innings at Cincinnati on June 21. He tossed 7 2/3 shutout frames against the Chicago White Sox while striking out eight in his next start. Most recently, Happ gave up four runs on six hits over seven innings while striking out four and walking nobody against Milwaukee on Wednesday.
Weaver, after giving up just one earned run in each of his previous two starts, was tagged for five runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. Once again, the long ball hurt Weaver as he gave up two home runs to run his season's total to 16 allowed. Prior to his last start, Weaver had gone 17 straight innings without giving up a homer.
"I just left a couple pitches up, and those guys put it where they should," Weaver said.
L.A. has won 10 straight at home and 15 of its last 16 overall at Angel Stadium. The Halos concluded a four-game home sweep of the Houston Astros following Sunday's 6-1 victory.
Starter Garrett Richards struck out a career-high 11 while pitching 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball to improve to 10-2 on the season. Kole Calhoun homered and went 3-for-3, while Albert Pujols was 2-for-3 including a two-run single.
The Blue Jays are trying to avoid a season-worst fifth straight loss, although they will have to do so without All-Star slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who is expected to miss at least two weeks with a strained right quadriceps that he injured during Saturday's 5-1 loss at Oakland. Encarnacion is second in the majors in both home runs (26) and RBI (70).
"It hurts us not having him on the team," said outfielder and fellow All-Star Jose Bautista. "The No. 1 priority is to get him better."
Toronto, which leads the majors with 114 homers on the season, lost each game of a four-game set at Oakland as the offense went 0-for-20 with runners in scoring position. It was more of the same for the team's suddenly lackluster offense during Sunday's 4-2 loss, which dropped the team two games behind Baltimore in the AL East standings. The Blue Jays held a one-game lead atop the division entering the series against the Athletics.
"We got shut down big time," manager John Gibbons said. "We're just not very good right now. We're just not producing."
The Angels won three of four when these teams met up at Rogers Centre from May 9-12.