Santiago sharp as Angels edge Blue Jays

Santiago sharp as Angels edge Blue Jays

TORONTO -- Hector Santiago tossed seven strong innings while Kole Calhoun homered and scored a pair of runs in the Angels' 3-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.

Santiago surrendered a leadoff homer to Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson in the first but was nearly flawless the rest of the way. His only other blemish came in the fifth when Donaldson added Toronto's second run on a sacrifice fly. Santiago allowed just four hits and three walks to a team that entered the game leading the Majors with a .328 average against lefties.

"That's a lineup over there that has been chewing up some left-handed pitching," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "They let you know if you are missing your spots. He pitched a good game."

The Angels were held in check for most of the night by right-hander Aaron Sanchez, but backed by the solid effort from Santiago, the offense was able to hang around and steal the game late. Calhoun scored on Chris Iannetta's RBI single in the seventh and David Freese recorded the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth.

"Santiago was really good," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He was picking the plate apart pretty good, he was pounding that inside corner and he was painting it pretty good."

Oh no you don't: Donaldson tried to tag Erick Aybar on a slow roller in the eighth, but the Angels' shortstop made a tremendous headfirst slide that allowed him to avoid Donaldson's tag and loaded the bases with one out. Moments later, Aybar scored the winning run on Freese's sacrifice fly. More >

"When the ball hit the ground, I stopped so that he'd see me closer," Aybar said in Spanish. "And so when he saw me closer, and that he wanted to tag me, I went from behind. … I thought he was going to throw to first to get the out, because there was one out."

Aybar's slide at third

Donaldson strikes early: Donaldson exchanged some heated words with the Angels' dugout during the series opener, but on Tuesday his bat did all of the talking. Donaldson led off the first with a homer off the top of the wall in right-center field. Donaldson's ninth home run of the year, which came on a 3-2 pitch from Santiago, also was the second leadoff homer of his career.

Santiago keeps it rolling: In a hitter-friendly park and against a Blue Jays lineup that led the Majors in OPS against left-handers, Santiago gave up just two runs (one earned) in seven innings, dropping his ERA to 2.25. Santiago gave up just four hits, walked three and struck out five. He's already completed seven innings twice this season. Last year, he recorded an out in the seventh just one time. More >

Santiago holds Jays to one run

"We're playing good, clean baseball for the most part, we're just getting beat. Either we're getting outpitched or when they shut our offense down, we're just not holding them in check enough. That's the way it goes sometimes." -- Gibbons

"His ability to throw strikes. Last year, he could throw strikes to one side of the plate. This year, he can throw strikes to both sides with his fastball. Just the overall command is better. The name of the game is locating and changing speeds. If you can do that, you'll be successful." -- Iannetta, on the biggest difference with Santiago this year and last year.

The Blue Jays have won just two games when scoring four runs or fewer this season. Toronto beat the Orioles, 4-2, on April 22, and the Jays defeated the Yankees, 3-1, on May 4. Overall, Toronto is 2-19 when scoring four runs or fewer.

Calhoun's fourth-inning solo homer, a line drive that sailed just over the 328 sign in left field, was his first career opposite-field home run, according to STATS LLC. Of his 28 other home runs, 24 were to right field and four were to center.

Angels: Jered Weaver hopes to keep trending in the right direction when he takes the ball for the third game of a four-game series at 7:07 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Weaver was 0-4 with a 6.29 ERA in his first six starts, but he has allowed just one run in 16 1/3 innings in his last two outings, scattering nine hits, walking one and striking out nine.

Blue Jays: Right-hander Drew Hutchison will look to continue his recent turnaround when he takes the mound on Wednesday night. Hutchison limited the Astros to two runs over six innings in his last start but didn't pick up a victory because his bullpen blew the lead late. Hutchison has allowed three runs over his previous 11 innings, but he has logged six or more frames just three times this year.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.