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Angels Look To Get On Scoreboard Against Blue Jays

(Sports Network) -- The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are grasping for straws at this point in the season, as they are quickly falling out of the race in the American League West.

The Angels, who are currently 8 1/2 games behind the first-place Texas Rangers, will try to bounce back in the win column this evening in the second matchup of a three-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays at Angel Stadium.

Trying to keep the Angels close with Texas will be Ervin Santana, who has won three of his last four starts. The last time Santana was on the hill, he led Anaheim to a solid win over Kansas City on Monday.

In that victory, the hard-throwing right-hander allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings. Santana scattered six hits in the game, but walked one batter and struck out three.

Earlier this season Santana defeated the Blue Jays, with the veteran hurler going the distance and allowing three runs on four hits, three of which were home runs. Despite his problems with the long ball, Santana still struck out 10 batters in the win.

Santana is 4-3 with a 4.61 earned run average in eight lifetime starts against Toronto.

As for the Blue Jays, they will turn to Brett Cecil, who snapped a three-game winless streak with a 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay in his last start on August 6. The southpaw tossed seven strong innings, allowing just one run on four hits. Cecil also walked two in the contest, but struck out nine batters as well.

Earlier this season the Maryland native made his first career start against the Angels, and in that meeting with the AL West squad, the former Terrapin held the Anaheim scoreless through 7 1/3 innings. Cecil surrendered just two hits in the game and finished with three punchouts.

In last night's opener, Marc Rzepczynski was nearly unhittable over seven innings as the Blue Jays blanked the Angels, 3-0.

Summoned from Triple-A Las Vegas to make Friday's start, Rzepczynski (1-1) scattered two hits to record his first win since beating these same Angels on August 21 of last season. The left-hander collected six strikeouts and did not issue a walk, but did hit consecutive batters in the third inning. He lowered his earned run average from 7.15 to 4.42.

Rzepczynski started in place of Brandon Morrow, who had his turn in the rotation skipped to give him extra rest after his last outing. Morrow set career highs with 17 strikeouts and 137 pitches Sunday, when he came within one out of a no-hitter in a 1-0 win over Tampa Bay.

The Angels' Scott Kazmir (8-10) absorbed the loss after he allowed two runs on four hits and three walks in six innings. Los Angeles had a three-game win streak snapped.

Anaheim has taken five of seven matchups with Toronto this season and won twice against the Blue Jays in a three-game series at home from May 24-26.