With a little more run support, Joe Blanton could easily enter his start on Monday night with three straight victories.
Instead, the right-hander is still seeking his first win of 2013 and he aims for the elusive victory on Monday night when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim play the first of three straight games against the Kansas City Royals.
In his first season with the Angels, Blanton is 0-6 with a 5.66 earned run average in seven starts this season. He has not allowed more than three runs in any of his past three starts, but has lost all three with his club held to just four total runs in that span.
That includes a loss in Houston on Wednesday as the righty yielded three runs and eight hits over 6 2/3 innings. He did not walk a batter and fanned six in a 3-1 loss.
Blanton, 32, will try to add to his career-long success against the Royals, who he is 3-1 against with a 1.76 ERA in six previous meetings.
Run support could be at a premium again tonight for Blanton as the Angels are coming off their third shutout loss of the season, a 3-0 setback to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. Los Angeles had a three-game winning streak snapped and lost for the 10th time in its past 15.
The Angels were dominated by White Sox starter Chris Sale, who fanned seven and allowed just one hit in the shutout. Mike Trout had Los Angeles' only hit with a clean single up the middle with one out in the seventh.
Chris Iannetta was the only other Angel to reach base on an error to start the ninth, but Sale bounced back by inducing a double-play groundout from Luis Jimenez before retiring Alberto Callaspo.
"When he's on he's unbelievable," Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton said of Sale. "He mixes his pitches well. It's almost like you've got to give up one to kind of focus on something else."
C.J. Wilson allowed all three runs on six hits and four walks over 6 2/3 frames to absorb the loss.
The Royals hope to avoid a seventh loss in eight games tonight after getting swept in three contests over the weekend by the New York Yankees. They lost Sunday's finale 4-2 as New York's Hiroki Kuroda hurled 7 2/3 solid innings.
"He had his stuff working and he kept us off-balance," said Jarrod Dyson, who had a double and scored a run, of Kuroda. "I'm not going to give him all the credit, but he did his job as a pitcher. We couldn't get our big hits today."
Ervin Santana served up back-to-back homers to Robinson Cano and Vernon Wells during a three-run top of the third inning, and surrendered four runs in all on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings to receive the loss.
Alex Gordon went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the setback for the Royals, who sit 1 1/2 games behind Cleveland and Detroit for first place in the AL Central.
Getting the call tonight for the Royals is Luis Mendoza, who is 0-2 on the year with a 6.38 ERA in five games (4 starts).
Mendoza is coming off a loss at the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday, charged with five runs -- three earned -- on five hits and three walks over six innings. While he did match his longest start of the season, he was done in during a fifth inning that featured three Royals errors as well as a wild pitch by Mendoza that scored a run.
The 29-year-old righty is 0-1 with a 10.24 ERA in five previous meetings with the Angels, including two starts, yielding 11 runs over 9 2/3 innings.
The Angels won five of nine versus the Royals a season ago, splitting six contests in Anaheim.