Garland makes quick work of Jays

Garland makes quick work of Jays

ANAHEIM -- On a day three of his Angels mound mates were named to the American League All-Star team, a first in franchise history, Jon Garland pitched like he also belonged in The House That Ruth Built in the South Bronx on July 15.

Wisely economical in these fuel-conscious times, Garland kept his pitch count low and his out count high. The Angels backed him up with runs and timely defense in a 7-1 complete-game victory on Sunday that gave the American League West leaders the weekend series against the Blue Jays.

In front of 41,026 Angel Stadium sun-bathers, Garland held the Jays to a homer by Rod Barajas, moving to 8-5 with the 100th win of his Major League career. The win extended the Angels' AL West lead to six games over the A's, who lost to the White Sox.

Jeff Mathis drove in three runs with two singles, Garret Anderson delivered a two-run double and Juan Rivera smoked a solo homer to spearhead the attack against losing pitcher Jesse Litsch (8-5).

"My sinker and changeup kept hitters off balance all day," said Garland, whose complete game was the ninth of his career and the first since Sept. 26, 2007, against the Royals.

Since May 3, getting a feel for his new surroundings, Garland has been among the most consistent starters in the game. He has yielded more than three earned runs just once in 13 starts. His ERA over that period is 2.78, reducing it from a high of 5.94 on April 28 to 3.76.

Garland got the job done with 98 pitches, 67 in the strike zone. Litsch needed almost that many pitches (94) to last 5 1/3 innings, yielding six earned runs on eight hits and a walk.

Anderson got the offense rolling with his two-out opposite-field double in the first. Rivera's second homer of the season and second in two games came in the second inning.

Mathis stroked a two-run single in the sixth to end Litsch's day after he'd yielded a single to Anderson and double to Howie Kendrick. A wild pitch by reliever Brandon League scored Mathis to complete the three-run inning.

Mathis' single in the seventh cashed in Torii Hunter, who'd singled leading off.

Garland didn't need all those runs, but he certainly appreciated them.

"We jumped ahead and put them on the defense," Garland said. "I was able to get them to chase pitches out of the zone." Garland showed his toughness in the second inning when he stranded Vernon Wells at third after a double and wild pitch by striking out Lyle Overbay and Scott Rolen and getting Gregg Zaun to ground out.

"I didn't want them to score," Garland said, simply.

Garland had three strikeouts, walking none and scattering six hits.

"He didn't get many strikeouts," manager Mike Scioscia said, "but he got them at a good time. To be able to strike out Overbay and Rolen was big at the time."

His defense came to Garland's aid in the fourth inning. A strong relay from Rivera in right to Kendrick, who delivered a strike to Mathis from shallow right field, cut down Wells trying to score from first on Overbay's double into the corner.

Taking the season series, 6-3, from the Jays, the Angels have scored 32 runs in the past five games, winning four times.

"Some guys are in their game," Scioscia said. "I can't imagine these guys not getting more in line with what their [career] numbers indicate as we move through the second half."

Rivera's bat has come alive with homers in consecutive games after he'd gone 58 at-bats without one. He unloaded a decisive homer Wednesday against the A's and delivered again against Litsch with a drive to left center.

"Juan's a guy definitely we'd look to get in the lineup and get more at-bats," Scioscia said. "It might not be on an everyday basis, but if he keeps swinging well, he's going to get more chances."

When they open a seven-game road trip in Texas on Monday night, the Angels will be without catcher Mike Napoli. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list after the game with shoulder inflammation.

Recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake was Ryan Budde, but Mathis is expected to do most of the catching in Napoli's absence.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.