Blue Jays-Angels Preview
By NOEY KUPCHAN
(AP) -- The Los Angeles Angels' 1-2 punch of Jered Weaver and Dan Haren surely ranks as one of the more potent in baseball.
One day after Weaver's no-hitter, Haren takes the hill for the Angels as they try for a third consecutive shutout in the same season for the first time in 38 years Thursday night in the first of four against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.
Los Angeles (10-15), which defeated Minnesota 4-0 on Tuesday behind Jerome Williams' three-hitter, completed a three-game sweep of the Twins with a 9-0 victory Wednesday. Weaver issued a seventh-inning walk but wasn't in line for a perfect game after catcher Chris Iannetta committed a passed ball in the second.
"I'm at a loss for words right now. It hasn't kicked in yet," said Weaver, who struck out nine. "Thank you for all your support. Couldn't have done it without the defense. The guys were picking me up left and right ... This is so surreal I can't even believe this."
Kendrys Morales and Howie Kendrick both homered and went a combined 7 for 9 for the Angels, who haven't posted three straight shutouts in a single season since Sept. 28-October 1, 1974.
While Haren (1-1, 3.34 ERA) has a tough act to follow, he's been pretty formidable himself of late. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA over his last three starts, during which he's received an average of just 2.05 runs of support.
Haren threw eight innings of one-run ball in Saturday's 2-1 win at Cleveland.
"He does what he always does," Indians outfielder Michael Brantley said. "He keeps you off-balance. He throws all his pitches for strikes. He throws what looks like a good strike and it ends up as a ball. He's a good pitcher."
Haren has gone 6-2 despite a shaky 4.83 ERA over 10 career starts against Toronto (14-11).
He'll be opposed by Brandon Morrow (2-1, 3.03), who after yielding a combined 10 runs over his second and third starts of the season, has been superb in his last two.
The hard-throwing right hander allowed one run in 6 2-3 innings during a 4-1 victory at Kansas City on April 23 before scattering five hits and striking out a season-high nine in six innings of Saturday's 7-0 victory over Seattle.
"He has this capability every time he steps to the mound," manager John Farrell told MLB.com. "When you combine a well-above-average fastball with the command that he showed (Saturday) in addition to three other off-speed pitches, he has the ability to not only take over the game, but dominate the opposition."
Morrow is 2-0 with a 1.01 ERA over his last four road starts dating to last season, during which he's limited opponents to a .167 average. He is 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA in three career starts versus the Angels.
Morrow will look to add to Albert Pujols' recent woes. The three-time NL MVP went 1 for 5 on Wednesday as his career-worst homerless streak reached 31 games and 130 at-bats. Pujols, though, is batting .472 lifetime against Toronto with a pair of homers.
The Blue Jays open a 10-game trek winners of four of five after taking two of three from Texas. Toronto posted its highest run total of the season during Wednesday's 11-5 win over the Rangers.
Edwin Encarnacion, batting .407 over an eight-game hitting streak, belted a three-run homer - his fifth long ball in six days.
"Edwin is just continuing to carry us," said second baseman Kelly Johnson, who also went deep.
Angels left fielder Vernon Wells, who spent the first 12 years of his career with Toronto, hit .186 with three homers in 10 games against his former team last season.
Updated May 3, 2012