TORONTO — Howie Kendrick knows
baseball can be "crazy" sometimes. He's learned to find calm amid the
Kendrick and Juan Rivera homered, Joe
Saunders pitched eight strong innings and the Los Angeles Angels beat
the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 Saturday.
"He's seeing the ball well now and
he's comfortable," Saunders said of Kendrick. "He's riding the
confidence and it's fun to watch."
Kendrick went 3-for-5 with three RBIs
and scored twice, and the Angels won back-to-back games for the first
time this season in handing the Blue Jays their first consecutive losses
of the year.
Kendrick was sent to the minors last
June 13, shortly after a difficult series in Toronto where he was
benched after losing track of the number of outs and getting doubled off
first base. He returned to the majors in early July and hit .351 the
rest of the way.
The demotion helped Kendrick learn to
keep his emotions in check when things aren't going well.
"It's just not really trying to get
down on myself when a couple of games don't go the way I'd like them
to," Kendrick said. "I've just got to stay with my approach and stay
with the things that I continue to do day in and day out because
eventually it's going to turn around."
Kendrick acknowledged feeling insecure
when the Angels arrived in Toronto last June for the series that led to
his demotion. He was batting just .227 at the time.
"Last year when I got here I was kind
of not sure of myself," he said.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia has
noticed changes in Kendrick since the stint at Triple-A.
"There's definitely a confidence
around Howie," Scioscia said. "It resurfaced at the end of last year and
it's with him now. If he has a bad game, he's good with his approach,
he's good with getting to the next game and not trying to reinvent the
"This guy can swing the bat,"
Scioscia added. "He had a great day today and that's what he's capable
of doing, being a big part of our lineup."
Saunders (1-2) came in 0-2 with a
7.36 ERA, but was sharp Saturday in allowing two runs, none earned, and
five hits. The left-hander walked one, struck out two, lowered his ERA
to 4.26 and improved his record in April to 11-3.
"That's a tough lineup, they've got
some power all the way through, and Joe really did well getting ahead
and bringing all his pitches into the game," Scioscia said. "You
couldn't pitch much better than Joe did this afternoon."
Fernando Rodney closed it out in the
ninth for his third save and second in as many days.
Los Angeles jumped in front before
Blue Jays left-hander Brian Tallet (1-1) could record an out. Erick
Aybar led off the first with a walk and Kendrick followed with a two-run
homer to left, his first.
Rivera led off the second with a
towering shot into the fourth deck in left, his third.
The Angels made it 4-0 in the third
on back-to-back doubles by Torii Hunter and Hideki Matsui.
Sloppy defense allowed Toronto to
halve the deficit in the bottom of the third. John McDonald doubled and
scored when third baseman Brandon Wood couldn't come up with Mike
McCoy's chopper down the line. McCoy wound up at second and scored when
Wood threw wildly to first on a grounder by Alex Gonzalez.
Tallet allowed four runs and five
hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out three, but struggled
to command his cut fastball, the pitch he threw on both homers.
"I probably shouldn't have thrown it
because I had no feel for it," Tallet said.
Rivera padded the Angels' lead with
an RBI single in the eighth off Jason Frasor, scoring Kendrick.
Gonzalez hit a two-out double to
center in the bottom half, his 11th extra base hit this season. Lind
followed with a single to right, but Gonzalez was thrown out at the
plate by Reggie Willits when he was unable to slide around catcher Mike
"Napoli made a great play," Scioscia
said. "Anytime you take a run away, it's big."
Kendrick made it 6-2 with an RBI
single in the ninth off Kevin Gregg.
Toronto first baseman Lyle Overbay
snapped an 0-for-18 slump with an RBI double in the ninth, boosting his
average to .085. Rodney replaced Kevin Jepsen and ended it by retiring
the next three batters in order.
Attendance was 17,187,
Toronto's second-biggest crowd this season. … Blue Jays 3B Edwin
Encarnacion (sore right arm) missed his third straight game and is
day-to-day. … OF Fred Lewis, acquired in a trade with San Francisco on
Thursday, made his Toronto debut, pinch hitting in the ninth. …
Buffalo Bills WR James Hardy was at the game. … Ervin Santana (0-2,
6.94) faces Ricky Romero (1-0, 1.80) in Sunday's series finale.
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