|L.A. Angels (70-49) «||0||1||1||0||0||0||2||0||0||4||4||0|
Escobar shut down his former team, Gary Matthews Jr. homered and Los Angeles held on to beat the Blue Jays 4-3 Thursday night, just the second win for the Angles in their past 16 games at Rogers Centre.
"We didn't want to get swept," Escobar said. "It was a very important game for us. Seattle is right behind us and we've got to win as many games as possible."
The idle Mariners fell 3 ½ games behind the Angels in the AL West.
Escobar (13-6) allowed one run and five hits over seven innings, walked none and struck out nine. He won back-to-back starts for the first time since mid-June and lowered his ERA to 2.68, the second-best mark in the AL. Oakland right-hander Dan Haren has a 2.54 ERA.
"I had great stuff tonight," Escobar said. "I haven't felt like that in a long time. My breaking ball, my two-seamer, my change-up -- everything was working pretty good."
Signed by Toronto in 1992, Escobar spent parts of seven seasons with the Blue Jays before signing a free-agent contract with the Angels following the 2003 season.
"He did tonight what he's been doing all year," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He was ahead in most counts, changed speeds well, had good command and pitched a strong ball game."
The Angels scored just four runs as Escobar suffered three straight losses in late July and early August. But they've scored 14 runs in his past two outings.
"He's been one of our horses," Matthews said.
Escobar responded by retiring the next 15 batters, a streak that ended with Ray Olmedo's double in the sixth. Johnson followed with an RBI single.
"That killed the rally right away," Escobar said of Matthews' throw. "They could have had a big inning there and that play killed the rally."
After Scot Shields worked the eighth, Toronto made one last rally in the ninth.
Vernon Wells hit a one-out triple to right off Francisco Rodriguez and scored on a single by Frank Thomas. After Troy Glaus walked and Aaron Hill flied out, Gregg Zaun squirted a single through the right side of the infield to score Hector Luna, who was pinch running for Thomas.
Rodriguez then got Matt Stairs to fly out to center for his 30th save in 33 opportunities.
"No one is going to be locked in 100 percent of the time, but Frankie gets it done," Scioscia said. "It's not always going to be clean with any closer, but he gets it done."
Toronto's Dustin McGowan allowed four runs -- three earned -- and four hits over six-plus innings. McGowan (8-7) walked three and matched a career high with seven strikeouts, but lost back-to-back starts for the first time since May 18 and 23.
Matthews gave the Angels a 1-0 lead in the second when he hit a mammoth homer off the facing of the center field restaurant.
"That ball was killed," Scioscia said. "That's one of the longest home runs I've ever seen."
Escobar was just as impressed. "That was a bomb," he said.
Matthews said McGowan's 96 mph fastball helped propel his highlight homer.
"He throws hard," Matthews said. "If you put a good swing on it when he's throwing that hard, it'll go a little bit."
The homer was the first extra-base hit of the series for the Angels, and their first since an eighth-inning homer by Jeff Mathis in Sunday's 6-2 victory over Minnesota.
The Angels added another run in the third when Mathis walked and scored on a double by Chone Figgins.
Sloppy defense by Toronto allowed the Angels to add two more runs in the seventh. After a leadoff walk to Matthews, Casey Kotchman grounded a ball under Overbay's glove, sending Matthews to third. Alex Rios' relay throw bounced off Overbay's glove and rolled across the infield, allowing Matthews to score.
Macier Izturis followed by chopping a double over Overbay's head, scoring Kotchman.
|Players of the Game|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|Chone Figgins, 3B||4||0||1||1||0||2||0||.341|
|Orlando Cabrera, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.307|
|Vladimir Guerrero, RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.319|
|Garret Anderson, DH||4||0||0||0||0||2||0||.271|
|Gary Matthews Jr., CF||2||2||1||1||2||0||0||.272|
|Casey Kotchman, 1B||4||1||0||0||0||1||1||.298|
|Maicer Izturis, 2B||3||0||1||1||0||0||1||.264|
|Jeff Mathis, C||2||1||0||0||1||1||0||.197|
|Reggie Willits, LF||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.302|
|2B - Chone Figgins (19, McGowan), Maicer Izturis (14, McGowan)|
|HR - Gary Matthews Jr. (15, McGowan)|
|RBI - Chone Figgins (45), Gary Matthews Jr. (66), Maicer Izturis (34)|
|SB - Gary Matthews Jr. (13, 2nd base off McGowan/Zaun)|
|Team LOB - 2|
|Outfield Assists - Gary Matthews Jr. 1|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|Kelvim Escobar (W,13-6)||7||5||1||1||0||9||0||2.68|
|Scot Shields (H,26)||1||0||0||0||1||2||0||2.80|
|Francisco Rodriguez (S,30)||1||3||2||2||1||1||0||2.88|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kelvim Escobar 103-69, Scot Shields 16-10, Francisco Rodriguez 24-14|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kelvim Escobar 4-7, Scot Shields 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Kelvim Escobar 25, Scot Shields 4, Francisco Rodriguez 7|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Reed Johnson, LF||4||0||2||1||0||1||1||.265|
|John McDonald, SS||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.258|
|Lyle Overbay, 1B||4||0||2||0||0||1||2||.258|
|Alex Rios, RF||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.311|
|Vernon Wells, CF||4||1||1||0||0||1||3||.260|
|Frank Thomas, DH||4||0||1||1||0||0||0||.262|
|Hector Luna, PR-DH||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Troy Glaus, 3B||3||0||0||0||1||2||0||.255|
|Aaron Hill, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.267|
|Gregg Zaun, C||3||0||1||1||1||1||0||.248|
|Ray Olmedo, SS||2||1||1||0||0||1||0||.333|
|a- Matt Stairs, PH-LF||2||0||0||0||0||1||3||.289|
|a-struck out for Olmedo in the 8th|
|2B - Ray Olmedo (2, Escobar)|
|3B - Vernon Wells (3, Rodriguez)|
|RBI - Reed Johnson (11), Frank Thomas (70), Gregg Zaun (32)|
|2-OUT RBI - Gregg Zaun (12)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Olmedo-Hill-Overbay, Zaun-Olmedo|
|E - Lyle Overbay (4, Misplayed grounder), Alex Rios (6, Throwing)|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Dustin McGowan (L,8-7)||6||4||4||3||3||7||1||4.14|
|WP - Dustin McGowan (8)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Dustin McGowan 97-56, Brian Wolfe 26-18, Scott Downs 9-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dustin McGowan 8-3, Brian Wolfe 1-3, Scott Downs 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Dustin McGowan 25, Brian Wolfe 5, Scott Downs 3|
|Attendance - 27861|
|Game Time - 2:38|
|Temperature - 81|
|Umpires - Home - Eric Cooper, First Base - Andy Fletcher, Second Base - Mike Reilly, Third Base - Jeff Kellogg|