TORONTO -- Vernon Wells returned to Toronto and thought he caught a glimpse of Roy Halladay on the mound. On closer inspection, it turned out to be Ervin Santana.
"Unreal," Wells said of the streaking Santana. "He's been the best pitcher in the game his last few starts. He reminds me of someone else I got to play behind for quite a few years."
Santana (9-8) was working on a shutout before Eric Thames homered with one out in the ninth. But he recovered to complete a seven-hitter for his third complete game in four starts.
"I feel the same way every time," Santana said. "Everything works how I want. It is [a good feeling], especially in the second half, when we need it."
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The right-hander struck out six and walked two while improving to 6-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last nine starts, a stretch that includes a no-hitter at Cleveland on July 27.
"That's a deep offensive lineup," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "They've got power all the way through the lineup and he kept them in check. Just a great game from Ervin."
Wells went 1 for 4 in his first game back in Toronto after 12 seasons with the Blue Jays. He was asked beforehand how he expected the fans to treat him.
"Hopefully it'll be a good reaction," Wells said. "If not, I'll get in the box and try to hit a homer."
The crowd of 24,731 gave Wells a standing ovation when he came to the plate with two outs in the second, and he stepped out of the box and tipped his batting helmet in gratitude. After stepping back in, he swatted Brandon Morrow's first pitch over the wall in left-center for his first homer since July 23 at Baltimore and No. 17 overall. That changed the tone of the crowd, who booed as Wells rounded the bases. Even so, Wells still called it "a special moment."
"We kind of joked in the clubhouse a little bit, if you get a standing O, they can turn to boos in a heartbeat if you hit a homer," Wells said afterward. "I obviously didn't see that happening but it was a cool moment and a moment I'll never forget.
"I just tried to hold back the emotion in that moment," he added. "I didn't think there would be much but there was. I just tried to enjoy it and obviously not be a cry baby at home plate."
Scioscia said it was clear how excited Wells was after going deep.
"He was pumped," Scioscia said. "That's a great moment for Vernon. He left some footprints here, he played very well for a long time. For him to hit a home run on the first pitch he sees back in his old stomping grounds, it's a terrific moment."
Morrow (8-7) lost his second straight start, allowing five runs, four earned, and four hits in seven innings. He walked four and struck out three.
"I didn't have a very good slider and that was the pitch Vernon hit out," Morrow said. "He and [Torii] Hunter almost went back-to-back on pretty much the same pitch and I couldn't put a guy away when I needed to."
The Angels followed Wells' drive by scoring three more in the third. Peter Bourjos led off with a walk, moved to second on Bobby Wilson's sacrifice and scored on Alberto Callaspo's two-out single, with Callaspo taking second on right fielder Jose Bautista's throwing error. After Bobby Abreu walked, both runners scored on Hunter's double to right.
Los Angeles added an unearned run off Morrow in the sixth. Hunter reached when Morrow lost his infield popup in the twilight, advanced to third on Russell Branyan's double and scored on Bautista's second error.
Erick Aybar stole second base in the seventh, giving the Angels 11 consecutive seasons with at least 100 steals, the longest active streak in the majors.
Santana threw 102 pitches, 69 for strikes. ... The Angels are 8-1 in Santana's past nine starts but just 14-11 overall in his 25 starts this season. ... Toronto DH Edwin Encarnacion extended his hitting streak to a season-high 11 games with a leadoff single in the eighth. ... Bautista threw out Russell Branyan trying to advance on Wells' fly ball in the sixth, his team-leading ninth outfield assist. ... Toronto promoted SS Adeiny Hechavarria from Double-A New Hampshire to Triple-A Las Vegas.