It was J.P. Arencibia who came through with the decisive blow for Toronto, a three-run homer, to help his team take the first game of the series, 5-0. But for a lineup that has scored the third-most runs in the American League, Blue Jays manager John Farrell knows there are plenty of threats in the order.
"Guys are going to ebb and flow, but fortunately we have enough guys in our lineup that if someone certain is not up to par, we've got other guys that can drive the ball out of the ballpark or drive in runs in key spots," Farrell said. "We like our team. We like our offense and, yet, we've still got some areas of improvement."
After shutting out the Twins in the last two games of their previous series, the Angels got the same treatment from Morrow, who limited Los Angeles to three hits in the complete-game victory. It's been a common theme for the Angels in 2012, as the club is one of only four teams in the AL that has failed to score 95 runs this season. Morrow's shutout marked the 11th time in the last 16 games that the Angels have scored three runs or fewer, going 6-10 over that stretch.
Albert Pujols, who still hasn't homered this season, hasn't helped Los Angeles' offensive woes, but manager Mike Scioscia doesn't think his lack of production, or anyone's, is an excuse to lose games.
"We need that depth, it's not just one guy," Scioscia said. "We need to win that game when guys in the lineup aren't swinging to their capabilities, and that's what we're going to have to do."
Although the bats have been silent, the Angels run into a pitcher who can't seem to win in Henderson Alvarez on Friday. Alvarez, 22, has an impressive 3.56 ERA over 15 career starts but has just two wins to show for it due to a lack of run support. He did win in his last game, however, and has thrown four quality starts in five outings this season.
Alvarez will be opposed by Ervin Santana, who has struggled more than anyone in the Angels' rotation, but is coming off his best start of the year. Santana threw seven innings and allowed a season-low two runs but lost for the fifth consecutive outing, falling to 0-5. Like Alvarez, Santana isn't getting help from his offense, which has been shut out in each of his past four starts.
Angels: Pujols slumping
Pujols is hitting .202, has yet to hit a home run in 104 at-bats after hitting 30-plus for 11 straight years and has driven in just one run in his last 17 games.
The former National League MVP is in one of the worst stretches of his career, but don't expect the Blue Jays to start taking him lightly.
"We still have to pitch to strengths," Farrell said. "We have scouting reports about what guys are currently doing. We'll factor that in but to be fearful of tonight's the night, we can't pitch like that. He's had 10 years of pretty good production. It's going to happen sooner or later."
Mike Trout collected two of the Angels' three hits Thursday for his first multihit game since being recalled on April 28.
Trout, 20, the No. 3 prospect by MLB.com prior to the season, hit .403 with a 1.091 OPS at Triple-A Salt Lake over 20 games before joining the Angels.
Blue Jays: Morrow, rotation rolling
Morrow's start marked the 28th consecutive time a Blue Jays pitcher has thrown at least five innings, which set a club record. Blue Jays starters entered Thursday's game having thrown the third most innings in the AL.
In the victory, they got nine more from Morrow, who didn't walk a batter for the second consecutive game. His last two outings are the only starts of his career in which he hasn't issued a free pass. The right-hander has issued just one walk in his last 21 2/3 innings.
After being switched to the No. 2 spot in the lineup Wednesday, Yunel Escobar has gone 5-for-9 with two runs scored. The shortstop was off to a slow start and flip-flopped spots with Kelly Johnson, who is leading the team with a .391 on-base percentage.
Farrell has to be liking the early return on the move, but he's not willing to commit to it long term.
"Kelly's been doing such a good job getting on base and [with] Yunel, we can do a number of things with him in the small game, a little bit, whether it's a bunt, hit-and-run, those kinds of things," Farrell said. "I don't want to say it was a pure shakeup of the lineup. But I think sometimes you put a guy in a different slot and all of a sudden they have a different view and a fresh start."