Brendan Donnelly continues to be the linchpin of an Angel bullpen that ranks among the best in the American League with a 2.55 earned-run average.
The right-hander stretched his scoreless streak opening the season to 20 innings with a perfect inning Sunday during the Angels' 4-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. Donnelly, who struck out two of the three batters he faced, has pitched more scoreless innings than any other reliever in the league this season.
Not bad for a guy who spent his first 10 professional seasons in the minor leagues before joining the Angels full-time last season.
"He really has the feeling that he has the ability to make pitches on a consistent basis," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "When he does, he has good results, and that's where he is right now. You hope that continues."
Opposing hitters are batting .103 against Donnelly, who has stranded all seven inherited runners.
Jarrod Washburn suggested that Angel hitters could have broken out of their funk against razor-sharp Toronto right-hander Roy Halladay on Sunday by being more aggressive early in the count.
"Our team tries to be patient, but it's hard to be patient when you go out there and he's strike one on every guy," Washburn said. "Sometimes you have to go out there and swing at the first pitch because it might be the best pitch you're going to get."
David Eckstein said Halladay, who limited the Angels to six hits and no walks over 7 2/3 innings, did a terrific job of keeping hitters off-balance by mixing a variety of pitches. Halladay throws a sinker, a cut fastball, a slider, a curveball and a split-fingered pitch.
"Starting off my third at-bat, he throws me the cutter that starts off at my head and goes over the inside corner," said Eckstein, who went 0 for 4. "He was able to do a lot of things with the ball."
Angel prospect Bobby Jenks told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he might have suffered the same fate as Angel minor leaguer Derrick Turnbow, who broke his right arm in April 2001 and sat out most of the next two seasons, had he continued to pitch with the stress reaction in his elbow. "If it would have gotten any worse I would have probably missed about a season," Jenks, expected to be out at least the next two weeks, told the newspaper. "It was real close to being a stress fracture." ... Three days after saying top prospect Casey Kotchman was on the verge of returning from a strained right hamstring, the Angels put the Class-A Rancho Cucamonga first baseman on the seven-day disabled list Saturday.
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Angel reliever Brendan Donnelly extended his scoreless inning streak to 20 innings Sunday against Toronto. A look at the most scoreless innings to start the season by an Angel since 1990:
Pitcher, Year IP
Brendan Donnelly, 2003...20
Lee Smith, 1995 ...19 1/3
Troy Percival, 1996 ...14 2/3
Ken Hill, 1998...14
Omar Olivares, 1999 ...13 1/3