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Angels-Blue Jays preview

TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays say they are not taking anything for granted during this home stand.

They are facing two teams who have the worst records in the American League.

They defeated the Los Angeles Angels (52-73) in the opener of a three-game series 7-2 on Tuesday.

The Angels have lost 11 straight road games, the most since they lost 14 road games in a row April 29-June 8, 1969.

The Minnesota Twins (49-76) follow the Angels for a three-game series at Rogers Centre starting Friday.

Then the Blue Jays go to Baltimore for a three-game series against the Orioles, who are two games out of first in the American League behind the Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox who are tied for first.

"I think the onus for us should be on just playing good baseball and not beating ourselves," said knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who pitched 6 2/3 innings Tuesday for the win. "If we can execute and play good baseball I think we should come out of this homestand feeling good about the momentum going to Baltimore. If we don't play well those teams can beat you just easily as a team like the Red Sox."

The Angels have long been out of postseason contention but infielder Cliff Pennington, who played part of last season with the Blue Jays when they won the Al East, said returning to Rogers Centre brings back good memories.

"It was an amazing three months I spent here playing at the Rogers Centre," Pennington said Tuesday before going 1-for-2 with a walk as the Angels' second baseman. "Those last three months was one of the coolest experiences I've had as a player. ... the atmosphere here in the Rogers Centre was one of the coolest things I've experienced."

The Blue Jays will start right-hander Marco Estrada (7-5, 3.20 ERA) in the second game of the series on Wednesday against Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker (7-13, 4.14 ERA).

Estrada allowed five hits, including three home runs, and five runs in four innings Aug. 16 against the New York Yankees and did not return after a rain delay. He did not factor in the decision when the Blue Jays came back to win 12-8.

The six-man rotation with the extra day between starts has not been good for Estrada so far. He is 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA in eight starts on four days' rest this season, is 2-4 with a 3.97 ERA in nine starts on five days' rest, and 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA in four starts with six or more days of rest.

In two career starts against the Angels, he is 1-0 with a 4.97 ERA.

Shoemaker is going for two wins in a row. He allowed five hits, two walks and two earned runs over seven innings Thursday to earn the win against the Seattle Mariners. He has a 3.12 ERA over his past 18 starts with 114 strikeouts and 18 walks.

In two career games, including one start, against the Blue Jays he is 1-1 with an 8.38 ERA. In his only start against Toronto, he allowed eight runs (seven earned) over six innings at Rogers Centre on May 21, 2015.

While the Blue Jays will try to maintain at least a share of first place in their division, the Angels will try to end an ugly road losing streak.

"Down the stretch every game is important," Blue Jays infielder Darwin Barney said. "I don't think we're taking anyone lightly. That's a good team over there."