Parker Bridwell isn’t taking his strong July performances too seriously.
The Angels starter pitched seven-plus dominant innings as Los Angeles ended the Toronto Blue Jays’ four-game win streak with a 7-2 victory on Friday night.
“I’m just having a good time,” said Bridwell.
“Every start, my objective is just to keep the team in the game. Once you do that, you have a better chance of winning.”
Bridwell (5-1) didn’t allow a baserunner until the fourth inning and gave up just one run on three hits in 7 1/3 innings as the Angels (50-54) snapped their mini-losing streak at three games.
Los Angeles is now 8-1 in games where the 25-year-old starts. Entering the game, the Texas native had a 1.86 earned-run average in July through three starts.
“Pretty much every time out he’s pitching his game and letting other hitters try to adjust to him,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. “He’s using all of his stuff and keeping them off balance, he did a good job tonight.”
The right-hander, who was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in April, came into the start allowing two or fewer runs in six of his last seven appearances.
“I played behind him a few times in triple-A,” said Los Angeles third baseman Kaleb Cowart. “He’s got electric stuff and works quick, he’s the kind of guy you want on the mound.”
Toronto (48-55) starter J.A. Happ (3-8) rebounded from a rough start in Cleveland on Sunday, giving up three runs over six innings while scattering five hits and four walks.
‘I thought I was hitting the glove’
Happ retired the first two batters of the second before getting into some trouble.
Cowart drove Martin Maldonado home with a two-out RBI single to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead. Mike Trout later walked with the bases loaded to make it 2-0.
After Trout’s walk, home plate umpire Angel Hernandez appeared to take his mask off and say something to Happ. This prompted Toronto manager John Gibbons to come out of the dugout, asking for an explanation. However, cooler heads prevailed as Gibbons avoided being ejected for the second straight game.
Happ and Hernandez conversed at the end of the inning.
“We had a conversation there, and wouldn’t you know it, the first time in the history of baseball where a player and umpire had a disagreement,” said Happ. “That’s what that was, I was disappointed, I thought I was hitting the glove.
‘Their guy was better, that’s the bottom line’
“In the heat of the moment, you’re not always right. I thought there was a little difference between the first and second inning’s strike zone, I was trying to get a grasp on that from him.”
Toronto’s Troy Tulowitzki left the game in the third inning with what the team confirmed to be a right ankle sprain as he tried to run out a groundout.
The Angels extended the lead to 3-0 in the fourth when Trout delivered a two-out RBI, this time driving in Maldonado with a single.
Happ settled down to retire all six batters in the fifth and sixth innings.
“I think their guy was better, that’s the bottom line, ” said Happ. “A couple too many walks tonight, but we were right there, within striking distance for most of the game.”
Toronto got its first baserunners of the game in the fourth after a Josh Donaldson walk and Justin Smoak single, but neither came into score.
Los Angeles made it 4-0 in the eighth when Kole Calhoun delivered an RBI single.
Darwin Barney, who entered the game for an injured Tulowitzki, led off the eighth inning with a double. After retiring Kevin Pillar, Bridwell was replaced by David Hernandez and the right-hander gave up an RBI double to Jose Bautista for Toronto’s first run of the game.
However, Los Angeles squashed any chances of a comeback by adding three runs in the ninth. Yunel Escobar’s second double of the game drove in Cowart, while C.J. Cron launched a two-run homer to left field to make it 7-1. Toronto reliever Chris Smith was tagged with all three runs, the first runs allowed of his short career.
Smoak’s 29th home run of the season in the ninth cut the Angels’ lead to 7-2.