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Heaney takes duel as Halos win 3rd straight

MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- Injuries have depleted the Angels' pitching depth over the last two weeks, leaving left-hander Andrew Heaney as one of the few remaining stabilizing forces in the club's rotation. Heaney came through yet again on Friday night, tossing seven strong innings to lead the Angels to a 2-1 win over the Blue Jays at Angel Stadium.

Heaney gave up just one run on nine hits while walking none and striking out four. In his last six home starts, he is 4-1 with a 0.88 ERA and 36 strikeouts over 41 innings. His consistency has helped the Angels' rotation stay afloat in the wake of injuries to fellow starters Garrett Richards, Shohei Ohtani, Nick Tropeano and Tyler Skaggs.

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ANAHEIM -- Injuries have depleted the Angels' pitching depth over the last two weeks, leaving left-hander Andrew Heaney as one of the few remaining stabilizing forces in the club's rotation. Heaney came through yet again on Friday night, tossing seven strong innings to lead the Angels to a 2-1 win over the Blue Jays at Angel Stadium.

Heaney gave up just one run on nine hits while walking none and striking out four. In his last six home starts, he is 4-1 with a 0.88 ERA and 36 strikeouts over 41 innings. His consistency has helped the Angels' rotation stay afloat in the wake of injuries to fellow starters Garrett Richards, Shohei Ohtani, Nick Tropeano and Tyler Skaggs.

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Heaney carried a shutout into the seventh, but he yielded a one-out single to Aledmys Diaz, who subsequently scored on Devon Travis' RBI double to cut the Angels' lead to 2-1. Steve Pearce appeared to fly out to center field for the second out, but the call was overturned after replay showed that Michael Hermosillo trapped the ball, putting runners on first and second with one out.

Still, Heaney extricated himself from the jam by striking out Justin Smoak looking and inducing a flyout from Yangervis Solarte.

"Andrew did a terrific job," manager Mike Scioscia said. "From the get-go, I think he had good command in and out, definitely changed speeds well. When push came to shove, he made some really good pitches, none better than the seventh. You're sitting on a one-run lead and you've got two pretty good hitters coming up, and he made some pitches."

Video: TOR@LAA: Heaney gets Smoak looking in the 7th inning

Heaney was rewarded with his fourth win of the season after Cam Bedrosian and Blake Parker combined to pitch two scoreless innings to close out the game, a respite from the breakdowns the bullpen suffered last week. Five days ago in Oakland, Heaney also departed with a lead, but his effort was spoiled after the bullpen blew a two-run lead in the ninth.

"It was good to bounce back after Heaney's last outing," said Parker, who earned his career-high ninth save on Friday. "He pitched so well and we didn't convert, so it felt good to convert this one for him because he's pitched so well the last couple times out."

Video: TOR@LAA: Parker fans Travis to earn his 9th save

With the win, the Angels extended their winning streak to three games and pulled within five games of the Mariners for the second Wild Card spot in the American League -- no small feat considering that deficit stood at 8 1/2 games on Monday.

The Angels built a quick lead in the first inning after Justin Upton worked a two-out walk and scored on Albert Pujols' RBI double into the left-field corner. Steve Pearce slipped on the warning track while attempting to retrieve the ball, allowing Upton to easily score from first. Luis Valbuena followed with an RBI single to right field, extending the Angels' lead to 2-0. Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada gave up only one more hit -- a single to Pujols in the fourth -- the rest of the way, but Heaney made sure it held up.

Video: TOR@LAA: Pujols drives in Upton with a double to left

The 27-year-old needed only 11 pitches to cruise through a 1-2-3 first, and he received some help from his defense to post a scoreless second. With a runner on first and one out, Russell Martin sent a deep drive to left field, but Upton raced back toward the warning track and made a leaping grab at the wall to record the second out. Randal Grichuk then shot a grounder down the third-base line, but Valbuena snagged it and fired to second for the forceout, ending the inning.

"That's just what they do," Heaney said. "It's not abnormal. They do that all the time. You get numb to the stuff that Simba [Andrelton Simmons] does over there. Valbuena's been playing great. We've got tons of guys who make plays like that, so it's just great to have them behind me."

Video: TOR@LAA: Upton makes catch while crashing into wall

In the fourth, Simmons struck out swinging against Estrada, marking his first strikeout since May 18. The stretch spanned 90 plate appearances, making it the fourth-longest streak in franchise history.

UP NEXT
Angels rookie Jaime Barria (5-3, 3.57 ERA) will make his first career appearance against the Blue Jays on Saturday night at 6:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. He'll be opposed by right-hander Marcus Stroman (0-5, 7.71 ERA). Barria yielded a career-high six runs over four innings in his last start on Monday against the D-backs and is 1-2 with a 4.80 ERA over his last three outings. The 21-year-old right-hander is still tied for the American League lead among rookies in wins and ranks third in ERA among those who have thrown at least 40 innings this season.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Andrew Heaney