ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Before the Los Angeles Angels hit the road for a two-week, 11-game, two-nation trip, they added another solid win to their recent surge.
Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun homered, Tyler Skaggs pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning and the Angels completed a three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays with a 6-2 victory Thursday night.
Albert Pujols had two doubles for the Angels, who have won six of seven after losing nine of 10. They swept Toronto at Angel Stadium for the first time since April 2002, winning all three games with a combination of power hitting, resilient pitching and big plays in the field.
“It’s good to go out this way,” Pujols said. “We’ve been struggling on the road (4-10), so we just need to keep playing like we have been here.”
Brian Goodwin had three hits for the Angels, who fly to Monterrey, Mexico, on Friday for a two-game “home” weekend series with the Houston Astros, followed by three additional U.S. stops. The itinerary is daunting, but the Angels are encouraged.
“A monster trip is an understatement,” Skaggs said. “It was nice to sweep them and have a happy flight.”
Calhoun hit a two-run shot in the second inning and Trout added a solo homer in the sixth. Trout’s drive was his sixth extra-base hit since April 7, and he has back-to-back multihit games for the first time since April 4-5.
Randal Grichuk had an RBI double for the Blue Jays, who had won nine of 12 before getting swept by the Angels for the first time anywhere since September 2013.
Aaron Sanchez (3-2) gave up nine hits and two walks in four innings for Toronto, taking his first loss in five starts.
“It’s just brutal, to be honest,” Sanchez said of the three-game sweep. “We go out there and play so well (against Oakland last week) and then just get embarrassed. Guys weren’t ready to play. We just go on to the next one.”
Pujols doubled leading off the second and Calhoun drove him home with his team-leading eighth homer. Although Calhoun’s average is hovering around .200, his power has spiked: He didn’t hit his eighth homer last season until July 13.
The Angels added another run in the third when Andrelton Simmons singled, advanced on Pujols’ second double and scored on Kevan Smith’s bases-loaded walk. Los Angeles got two more in the fourth when Simmons’ RBI single rolled past Alen Hanson in right.
“We didn’t really play that good in the whole series,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “Our pitching struggled, and we didn’t make a lot of plays. No excuses. They outplayed us.”
Skaggs (3-2) didn’t allow a hit until a leadoff double in the fifth by Brandon Drury. Grichuk knocked in a run in the sixth, but Skaggs escaped the jam when Simmons turned a clever double play by allowing Drury’s short drive to drop in front of him at shortstop with two runners on.
“I don’t know that I’ve seen a smarter player than Andrelton Simmons in the field,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got the night off for the first time since his ballyhooed call-up last week. The son of the Angels’ Hall of Fame slugger is 3 for 18 with six strikeouts in the big leagues, and he went 0 for 6 with two walks at Angel Stadium.
The 39-year-old Pujols didn’t add to his 1,998 career RBIs, but he got two doubles in a game for the first time in exactly two years. He is one double behind Carl Yastrzemski (646) for ninth place in baseball history.
Blue Jays: Eric Sogard returned to the lineup after leaving Monday’s game and sitting out Tuesday due to illness.
Angels: INF Zack Cozart took swings in the batting cage, continuing his recovery from a neck injury. He is eligible to return from the injured list Saturday.
Blue Jays: Trent Thornton (0-3, 5.08 ERA) goes after his first major league victory in his seventh start Friday when Toronto opens a weekend series at Texas.
Angels: Weather permitting, Trevor Cahill (1-2, 5.93) will become the first pitcher in big league history to start games in four different countries when he takes the mound Saturday at Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey against the Astros. Cahill has already started in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
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