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News » Blue Jays-Angels Preview 2009-05-07

Blue Jays-Angels Preview 2009-05-07

Blue Jays-Angels Preview 2009-05-07
Aaron Hill and the AL-leading Toronto Blue Jays are showing no signs of slowing down.

They'll look to continue their torrid hitting as they go for a two-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night.

Hill has played a key part in helping Toronto (20-10) to the best record in the AL. The Blue Jays lead the majors with a .297 batting average and 189 runs.

Hill is tops in baseball with 49 hits and fourth in the league with a .366 average. The second baseman, held without a hit only four times this season, leads Toronto with seven homers and 27 RBIs.

A concussion ended Hill's 2008 season after 55 games, as he hit .263 with two homers and 20 RBIs.

He went 3 for 5 with a homer and three RBIs to power Toronto's 13-1 victory over Los Angeles (12-14) on Wednesday. The Blue Jays, winners of two in a row and five of six, moved two games ahead of Boston atop the AL East.

On Tuesday, Hill drove in two runs in a 10-6 victory over Cleveland.

"We've always felt like we've had the talent," Jays ace Roy Halladay said after earning his sixth win Wednesday. "Over the course of the years, individual guys (on offense) have put up good numbers. We haven't been able to get everybody going at the same time."

Hill is 11 for 25 (.440) with a homer and four RBIs in his last six games against the Angels.

Robert Ray (0-0, 4.76 ERA) hopes to benefit from a Toronto lineup that's produced 30 runs in the last three games when he makes his second career start. The right-hander was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday.

Ray struggled at times over 5 2-3 innings of his debut Saturday, allowing three runs and four hits - one homer - with four walks and one hit batter in a 5-4, 11-inning win over Baltimore.

"At first, with the blood pumping, I was probably overdoing it a little bit," Ray, a seventh-round draft choice in 2005, told the team's official Web site. "I've got to be better than that, for sure. I'm happy that I kept us in the game and we came out on top, but I've got to be better than that."

The Angels, who had a three-game winning streak halted Wednesday, will counter with Jered Weaver (2-1, 3.13).

The right-hander didn't get a decision in his last start after giving up four runs in the opening inning during Friday's 10-9 loss at New York. Weaver, though, limited the Yankees to two hits over the next five innings.

Weaver is 3-1 with a 4.30 ERA in four starts against Toronto - all at home.

While Los Angeles' scheduled starter for Thursday has pitched well this season, the bullpen continues to struggle. Angels relievers gave up seven runs Wednesday - five by Justin Speier - and the team's bullpen ERA of 7.52 is by far the worst in the majors.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 7, 2009

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