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Richards allows two runs in seven innings

ANAHEIM -- It could have been a product of returning home from a long road trip, the calendar turning from July to August, or the new lineup. Whatever the cause, the Angels are happy with the result.

After a dismal July, which culminated with a gut-wrenching road trip, the Angels began the new month with an 8-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Thursday night at Angel Stadium.

"It's great for us to show everybody here that we're still here to play," J.B. Shuck said. "We're going to come out, try to win and we're not giving up. We came out and put together a great first inning just to get the confidence back up a little bit and to kind of take a little pressure off for the rest of the game. We continued to put the pedal down and swung the bats well."

Coming off a season-high six-game losing streak, Angels manager Mike Scioscia shook up the lineup as the team had scored three or fewer runs in eight of its last 13 contests. And the 68th variation of the batting order this season -- which featured Kole Calhoun leading off, Mike Trout in the No. 2 spot and Josh Hamilton hitting third for the second time this year -- worked.

The Angels knocked Blue Jays starter Josh Johnson out of the game after he allowed seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits in just 2 1/3 innings.

Johnson, who is now 1-8 on the season, has now allowed 25 earned runs over his last 16 innings.

"Just frustration, that's it," Johnson said. "I'm out there trying to battle, trying to get through it and trying to stay positive. The worst part is doing that to my bullpen, doing that to my teammates having to stand out there and watch it."

All in all, the Angels tallied 12 hits while Howie Kendrick extended his hitting streak to six games, and Trout, via a fifth-inning walk, reached base for the 32nd straight game.

"Anytime [Johnson] made a mistake, we were ready for it," Scioscia said. "We had a great combination on the offensive side of great situational hitting and terrific baserunning. Trum [Mark Trumbo] hit one out, showed a little power, we drove the ball well, scored runners from third base. Just a good offensive night all the way around for us."

As the offense energized the crowd, Garrett Richards continued his strong second half, which began with 12 consecutive scoreless innings -- a streak that was snapped in the fifth. In his second start since replacing Joe Blanton in the Angels' rotation, Richards held the Blue Jays to two runs and four hits in his seven innings.

"I'm trying to make the most of my opportunity right now," Richards said. "Just trying to go out and give us a chance to win every time and throw the ball down in the zone."

Prior to the game, Scioscia said the new lineup "will give us a good look early in the first inning and hopefully we get some big boys up there with guys on base and see what happens."

The Angels got that "good look" in the first and when the "big boys" came up, they delivered. The Angels batted around in the first, scoring four runs on five hits. Calhoun led off the game with a single and scored on Kendrick's RBI single. Trumbo followed with a two-run home run, his 24th of the season, and the inning was capped with an RBI single from Shuck.

The Angels added another run in the second when Calhoun -- who finished 2-for-4 for his first career multihit game -- singled and scored on a sacrifice fly from Hamilton, his eighth RBI in the last four games.

In the third, the Angels showed no signs of slowing down as Trumbo, Erick Aybar and Chris Nelson began the inning with singles. Trumbo scored on Blue Jays left fielder Melky Cabrera's error, and Aybar scored on Shuck's sacrifice fly, giving the Angels a 7-0 lead.

Shuck wasn't done. Nelson led off the seventh with a triple, and Shuck picked up his third RBI of the game with another sac fly, making it 8-2.

"This is a fighting club," Richards said. "We're definitely not giving up as a team. We still have two months left in the season and we're going to fight to the end."

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