ANAHEIM, Calif. — J.A. Happ finally got a win against the Los Angeles Angels.
Josh Donaldson went 3 for 3 with two doubles and scored two runs, Russell Martin hit a three-run homer, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Angels 7-2.
Happ (19-4) was winless in five starts against Los Angeles coming into the opening game of the four-game series, but pushed it out of his mind as he took the mound. He then took a shutout into the seventh inning.
“I was a little bit aware but you kind of put that stuff out of your head once the game starts,” Happ said. “I was just trying to attack and be aggressive. It worked out, we made some nice plays.”
Happ was charged with two runs and three hits, struck out three over six-plus innings and got his 13th win in his last 17 starts and his career-best 19th. It’s the most wins for a Toronto pitcher since Roy Halladay won 20 games in 2008 and he trails Rick Porcello by one win for the major league lead.
“I was just trying to get us back to the dugout as usual,” Happ said. “Got some early outs that definitely helped keep the momentum on our side there.”
Toronto (80-66) remained tied with Baltimore for the two AL wild cards, two games behind East-leading Boston.
The Blue Jays got an emotional boost in Donaldson’s return. After playing coy with the results of an MRI on his hip, Donaldson appeared to be back to form, reaching base five times and sparking rallies in the fourth and sixth innings.
“I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest with you, but he looked great,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He’s a key guy for this team and everybody knows that. He just adds that extra dimension. It’s good to have him back.”
In his fourth big-league appearance, Daniel Wright (0-3) gave up two runs before exiting in the sixth after walking leadoff batter Donaldson. Jose Valdez replaced him and got the first out but walked Jose Bautista and then gave up home run for the second night in a row, this one Martin’s 19th that put the Blue Jays up 5-0.
“I think Daniel definitely took a big step forward from his last start,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think right now, where’s he’s starting to lose a little bit is he hasn’t been stretched out early all year, to where he’s going to be able to fight through that sixth inning and be into the seventh.”
Andrelton Simmons hit a two-run homer to pull the Angels within three and chase Happ. Simmons, who missed the last three games with a sore thumb, has three home runs in his last two games and extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Despite the lingering soreness in his thumb and hand, Simmons has seen a sudden power outburst that he credits to improved pitch selection.
“Hitting homers makes everything better,” Simmons said. “I’m swinging at better pitches, so my pitch selection has been better. And just being more relaxed and not missing my pitches.”
Devon Travis capped the scoring with a two-run single off Deolis Guerra in the top of the ninth. Guerra then loaded the bases with one out but A.J. Achter came in and got Bautista to ground into a double play.
TROUT’S MILESTONE WALK
Mike Trout was issued his 100th walk by Happ in the sixth inning. Trout became the 10th player in A.L. history to walk 100 times twice before his 25-year-old season.
Blue Jays: 3B Donaldson returned to the lineup after missing the entire three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays earlier this week with a sore right hip. Neither Donaldson nor manager John Gibbons went into detail about the results of the MRI he underwent on Wednesday, only saying he’s good enough to play.
Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs will play catch Monday with the hopes of making one more start this season. The Angels haven’t made a decision as to whether or not he will pitch again this season. Skaggs, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014 and made nine starts before being diagnosed with a mild left pronator strain on Wednesday, is likely headed to instructional league after the season concludes.
Blue Jays: RHP R.A. Dickey is coming off a loss in Oakland in which he gave up five earned runs in six innings. Dickey won his only outing against the Angels this season, allowing two earned runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings on Aug. 23.
Angels: RHP Jered Weaver is looking for win No. 150 on Friday in the second game of the four-game series. Weaver could become just the second Angels pitcher to win 150 games, joining Chuck Finley (165). Since Aug. 25, Weaver is 3-0 with a 3.97 ERA and has pitched well against the Blue Jays, going 11-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 14 starts.