Blue Jays-Angels Preview
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- One night after the Los Angeles Angels pitched a no-hitter, Albert Pujols went hitless again.
The slugger's search for his first home run of the season continues.
Pujols will again try to end the longest homer drought of his career as the Angels attempt to rebound from a loss to the visiting Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.
Los Angeles (10-15) got a no-hitter from Jered Weaver in Wednesday's 9-0 win over Minnesota, backed by a season-high 15 hits from the Angels' offense as the club extended its winning streak to a season-best three games.
That run ended with Thursday's 5-0 loss to Toronto (15-11), which got a three-hitter from Brandon Morrow to open this four-game set.
Pujols went 0 for 3 against Morrow, continuing his season-long slump. Pujols is batting .202 with five RBIs, and is still searching for his first homer in an Angels' uniform - his longest drought to start a season.
The three-time NL MVP been even worse over his last 13 games, going 5 for 50 with one RBI and eight strikeouts - thus far failing to live up to the 10-year, $240 million free-agent contract he signed in December.
"For a guy that's has as much success as he has, I'm sure that he might wish to be in a different position than he is right now," teammate Mark Trumbo said. "But he's handled it as well as anybody I can possibly imagine, as far as staying upbeat and not showing any outward frustration."
Scheduled Angels starter Ervin Santana (0-5, 6.16 ERA) has plenty of reason to be frustrated, still winless and mired in the longest losing streak of his career.
Santana hasn't generally pitched well, but he also hasn't gotten much help from Pujols and the bats, as he's been backed by a total of two runs in his five starts - none in his last four.
The right-hander produced his first quality start of the season Sunday at Cleveland, yielding two runs in seven innings, but got charged with a 4-0 loss as the offense mustered only three singles.
He'll face a surging Toronto club, which has won three straight and five of six, with its starting rotation posting a 2.85 ERA in that span.
Henderson Alvarez (1-2, 3.62) will get the ball Friday. The right-hander yielded one run in six innings Sunday's 7-2 win over Seattle, five days after limiting Baltimore to two runs over seven innings but getting charged with a 2-1 loss.
Alvarez has faced Los Angeles once, allowing three runs in seven innings Sept. 22 in Toronto before the Blue Jays won 4-3 in 12.
Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia has three hits and five RBIs in his last two games, including a three-run homer Thursday - his first long ball since another three-run shot lifted the Jays over Cleveland in 16 innings on opening day.
Arencibia has never faced Santana.
Blue Jays teammate Edwin Encarnacion will try to rebound from his 0-for-4 Thursday performance. He had been 11 for 27 with five homers and 11 RBIs over the previous eight games, but is just 4 for 25 in his last seven contests in Anaheim.
Updated May 4, 2012