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Shohei Ohtani takes mound as Angels seek series win over Jays

After ending a six-game losing streak emphatically on Friday, the visiting Los Angeles Angels will be out to clinch their three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon.

The Blue Jays, who were coming off a 6-1 trip, had won their four previous meetings with the Angels this season, all at Anaheim in late May, three by one run.

The opener of the current three-game series was not close. With Mike Trout and Andrew Velazquez each hitting two-run homers and Jo Adell hitting two homers in his first career four-hit game, the Angels won 12-0.

When he crossed the plate on his 27th homer of the season in the eighth inning, Trout set a franchise record for career runs with 1,025. He had been tied with Garret Anderson.

Trout reached the record in 1,374 games while Anderson took 2,013.

“We’ve had a lot of great hitters in this franchise, and obviously, Mike’s going to go down as one of the best,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “Special player and pretty special to be able to manage him, too.”

The middle game of the series will feature a good pitching matchup. Angels right-hander Shohei Ohtani (10-8, 2.83 ERA) will start against Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah (12-6, 2.66) on Saturday.

In two career outings against Toronto, Ohtani is 1-1 with a 5.25 ERA. He took a loss against the Blue Jays on May 26 when he allowed five runs in six innings, though he struck out 10.

Manoah owns a 1-0 record and a 2.84 ERA in two career starts against the Angels. He allowed three runs (two earned) and fanned nine over six innings during a no-decision against Los Angeles on May 27.

The Toronto outfield might be altered on Saturday. Right fielder Teoscar Hernandez left Friday’s game after two innings due to a left-foot contusion. He fouled a ball off his foot in the first inning.

Meanwhile, center fielder George Springer, who has been limited to the designated hitter role because of a sore right elbow, is close to returning to the field.

Springer was on the injured list Aug. 5-14. He singled on Friday to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, during which he is 17-for-32 (.531) with seven RBIs.

“Obviously, you can see what he has been doing since he’s been back,” Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider said, “Him at the top (of the lineup) is just such a good presence, so we feel good with him where he is, and you feel good hopefully in the next few days getting him in the outfield, too.

“We want him to be the best version of himself, and we don’t want to take away from what he’s doing at the plate. But if he’s good to go, we’re almost in September, so if he’s good enough, he’s going to be out there.”

The Angels placed right-handers Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera and outfielder Taylor Ward on the restricted list on Friday because they are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and could not enter Canada. Los Angeles recalled right-hander Jose Marte and purchased the contracts of outfielder Ryan Aguilar and right-hander Gerardo Reyes as substitutes.

Marte and Reyes each pitched a scoreless inning on Friday. Aguilar went 0-for-2 with two walks and two runs.

“We knew coming in who we weren’t going to have,” Nevin said. “I just look at it as an opportunity to see some guys maybe we wouldn’t have.”

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