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LAA@BAL: Wilson goes seven strong, picks up ninth win

The Angels have not been able to silence the Blue Jays' bats during the first three games of the teams' four-game series at Rogers Centre.

If that's to change in Sunday's finale, Los Angeles will need another strong start from C.J. Wilson, as it looks for a series split. Fellow lefty Aaron Laffey will take the ball for the Blue Jays, who have scored at least seven runs in all three games against the Angels -- including an 11-2 win on Saturday -- and in five of their last eight overall.

Wilson (9-4, 2.36 ERA) has been making his case for a spot on the American League All-Star team with the help of catcher John Hester, who likely will get the start on Sunday. Hester, who wasn't in the lineup on Saturday, has caught each of Wilson's last four outings.

Wilson has posted a 1.91 ERA over that span, as part of a streak of seven straight quality starts. Coincidence or not, his ERA is 1.77 in seven starts with Hester behind the plate, compared to 3.10 when he has been paired with Bobby Wilson.

"We're winning. I don't know," Hester said. "It's nothing [manager Mike Scioscia has] addressed personally, but I do think me and C.J. are on the same page more often than not, and the results are there. So maybe Scioscia sees something there.

"I like to think I'm a part of [Wilson's success]. But, realistically, it's more C.J."

Laffey (0-0, 1.80 ERA), in his first season with the Blue Jays, made his first start since July 19, 2010, on Tuesday. He responded by tossing six scoreless innings against the Red Sox -- though Toronto's bullpen couldn't hang on to his one-run lead.

The lefty started the season at Triple-A Las Vegas, posting a 4.52 ERA in 11 starts, then made four relief appearances before sliding into the rotation. Against Boston, Laffey displayed stellar four-seam fastball location and allowed only three hits to earn himself another start.

"Just coming up, helping the team out in the bullpen, I've always done whatever the team needed me to do. But getting this opportunity is something I've been waiting for for a couple of years now," Laffey said.

Angels: More than just a glove
• Angels catchers batted .192 with a .555 OPS last season, and backstops Wilson, Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger haven't contributed much offensively in 2012.

Hester, on the other hand, has produced in a small sample size. The 28-year-old is batting .288, with an .821 OPS and three home runs in 66 plate appearances.

A 13th-round pick by the D-backs in 2006, Hester played in 53 games for Arizona in 2009 and '10. He was released by the Orioles and signed by the Angels in April, then called up to the big leagues in May.

"With John, the scouting report on him is he has a lot of strength -- is a strong kid in the box, I think, from the offensive end. He's obviously contributed, and that's good," Scioscia said. "But we're really impressed with the way he's handled himself at the plate, as far as bringing a game plan in. He's worked really well with some of our pitchers. That's an important part of us moving forward, and he's doing that right now."

• Shortstop Erick Aybar, second baseman Howie Kendrick and right fielder Torii Hunter were all out of the starting lineup for Saturday's day game following a night game. Kendrys Morales played first base, with Albert Pujols sliding to designated hitter.

Blue Jays: A trusty veteran
• With Jamie Moyer at Las Vegas after recently signing with Toronto, Darren Oliver's days as the Jays' only 40-year-old pitcher could be numbered. The club will hope nothing changes with his performance.

At age 41, the left-hander has made 32 appearances in his first season with the Blue Jays and leads the club with a 1.59 ERA. He has 30 strikeouts, only seven walks and 19 hits allowed in 28 1/3 innings.

"He knows how to manage situations and when to pitch around a guy in a different spot," manager John Farrell said. "He has such a feel for reading swings. ... He has good stuff, too. It's a testament to not only his intelligence on the mound, but the way he has kept himself in shape. ... He has done a heck of a job."

• Before going 0-for-4 on Saturday, outfielder Rajai Davis was riding a 19-for-54 (.352) stretch over his last 15 games, with three doubles, a triple and six RBIs. His two steals on Friday pushed his season total to 20, good for second in the AL.

Worth noting
• Wilson allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in his last start at Rogers Centre, which came last season.

• Adam Lind is 5-for-10 against Wilson, with a double, a triple, a home run and two walks. Comments