After joy of no-no, Angels silenced by Morrow

After joy of no-no, Angels silenced by Morrow

After joy of no-no, Angels silenced by Morrow
ANAHEIM -- The Angels felt like they turned a corner recently.

But then they ran right into a brick wall.

Its name was Brandon Morrow. The Blue Jays right-hander hurled a shutout Thursday while facing one more than the minimum, handed the Angels and Dan Haren a 5-0 loss, snapped a season-high three-game winning streak and sucked away any momentum gained from Wednesday night's no-hitter and offensive surge.

Momentum, many often say in this game, is usually only as good as the next day's starting pitcher.

The Angels feel like they simply faced a really good one on Thursday night.

"We've been playing good baseball; we just ran into somebody that threw a great game tonight," said Mark Trumbo, whose sixth-inning, two-out throwing error plated two additional runs and essentially put the game out of reach. "I don't know if anybody would've been able to do too much with what he had tonight."

Albert Pujols, once again, didn't do too much, either.

The Angels' $240 million first baseman, clean-shaven for the opener of a four-game set, grounded out three times to the left side -- one was a double play, another should've been a base hit -- and is batting .202 with a 104-at-bat homerless streak, one shy of his single-season career high.

Through mystifying struggles, Pujols has remained publicly upbeat all year. And that didn't change while on the brink of falling below the Mendoza Line.

"You catch a streak here and there where you don't feel good, but overall, if you break down my at-bats that I have, look at how many balls I've hit hard and they haven't found a hole," Pujols said. "There's nothing I can do but just laugh, knowing that if I continue to do that, sooner or later in those next 500 at-bats, I'm pretty sure I'm going to get my hits and it's going to go my way."

The Angels (10-16) looked like a team that had things going their way, but Morrow and his outstanding fastball command dominated them at Angel Stadium, scattering three hits, walking none, striking out eight and facing only 28 batters to move to 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA.

Prior to a leadoff double by Trumbo in the ninth, the 27-year-old right-hander faced the minimum through eight innings. The only two hits he had given up were a couple of singles by new leadoff hitter Mike Trout, with Pujols and Vernon Wells grounding into double plays behind him.

"My fastball command was really what did it for me," Morrow said. "That's probably the best I've ever been with that. I felt like I could have hit that down-and-away strike with my eyes closed tonight."

Manager Mike Scioscia trotted out lineup combination No. 23 for the Morrow matchup, and it resulted in the Angels' fifth shutout of the year. In 10 of the Angels' last 11 games -- all except Wednesday's nine-run, 15-hit barrage -- they've failed to top four runs and notch double-digit hits.

"We just didn't get our bats going, but that doesn't mean anything," Pujols said. "We just have to figure out a way to come back tomorrow and try to win the game. And our goal is to try to win the series -- every series that we play. We're going to try to win again tomorrow and put ourselves in a position to try to do that."

Haren was charged with five runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks in seven innings, moving to 1-2 with a 3.43 ERA on the year.

"Danny definitely pitched a game that would give us a chance to win if we were swinging to our capabilities," Scioscia said.

The Blue Jays (15-11) did their only real damage against Haren by suddenly getting aggressive in the top of the third, with Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus leading off with back-to-back singles -- breaking up an Angels-record string of 17 1/3 consecutive hitless innings, going back to Jerome Williams' Tuesday start -- and J.P. Arencibia blasted a three-run homer, his first since Opening Day.

Once again, the Angels provided their starter very little margin for error.

"I put us behind the eight ball," Haren said. "I know when I get a 3-0 lead it makes things easy -- you can be more aggressive, get hitters chasing stuff. We'll get it going eventually."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.