Chacin showed he was paying attention, outdueling the Los
Angeles Angels' right-hander with seven strong innings Saturday
night in the first matchup between the two Venezuelan pitchers, and
the Blue Jays got RBI doubles from Adam Lind and Frank Catalanotto
in a 2-1 victory that snapped the Angels' six-game winning streak.
"He's one of the guys I took under my wing when he was a
rookie," Escobar said. "We played on the same team in Venezuela
and then in Toronto when he made the 40-man roster. I lived with
him a couple of times in spring training and I talked to him a lot
about pitching. Tonight the guy on the other side pitched better
Chacin (8-3) threw just 87 pitches, allowing a run and six hits
in his fourth start since coming off the disabled list and escaping
a bases-loaded jam in the first inning. The left-hander is 3-0 with
a 2.05 ERA in four career starts against the Angels.
Chacin has been limited to 14 starts and 71 innings because of
elbow problems that landed him on the DL twice while missing 11½
weeks. Last year he tied the club record for most starts by a
rookie, set by Jerry Garvin during the franchise's inaugural 1977
season, and became the first Blue Jays rookie since Garvin to pitch
at least 200 innings.
"In about a year and a half in the big leagues, he's got 22
wins. That ain't bad," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "He's
got a chance to get to get 10 wins under his belt this year, which
would be a heck of an accomplishment for him after missing a couple
of months. It's all about location for him -- keeping the ball down
and throwing strikes. He's been locked in his last three starts."
Escobar (10-13) allowed two runs and nine hits over seven
innings and struck out five. The right-hander, who spent his first
seven big league seasons with the Blue Jays, is 2-3 with a 2.12 ERA
in five career starts against them -- including a 3-0 win on May 6
Escobar is running out of adjectives to describe his frustration
over the his lack of run support. This was the 11th time in his 27
starts that the Angels scored fewer than three runs. In eight of
his 10 wins, he has allowed fewer than three -- including last
Sunday's 2-1 gem at Detroit.
"It's tough. I've got to be patient and wait for my next turn
and keep doing what I'm doing," Escobar said. "I know I've
pitched well enough to have a better record than I have. Every time
I go out there I'm giving the team a chance to win. That's all I
can control. I can't control the rest. I can't be perfect."
The Blue Jays improved to 6-3 against the two-time defending AL
West champions, clinching the season series for the fourth straight
year with one game remaining. The Angels squandered an opportunity
to slice a full game off Oakland's lead in the AL West and remained
5½ games back.
Reed Johnson led off the fifth with a single and scored on a
double to left-center by Frank Catalanotto, giving Toronto a 2-1
Bengie Molina, who spent seven seasons catching for the Angels
before signing with Toronto last winter, led off the fourth with a
single and stunned the sellout crowd of 44,007 by stealing second
ahead of the throw from younger brother Jose on a hit-and-run play
with Aaron Hill at the plate. It was just the third steal in 819
big league games by Molina, who scored the tying run on Lind's
"He had a great jump," Escobar said of his former batterymate.
"I didn't think he was going to go, so I really didn't pay
attention to him."
During the Blue Jays' previous series at Angel Stadium in May,
Molina originally was credited with a stolen base. But the
following day, official scorer Ed Munson changed his decision to
"catcher's indifference" because no one was holding Molina on at
first base and he didn't draw a throw to second.
Tim Salmon appeared in his 1,662nd regular-season game with
the Angels, surpassing Brian Downing for second place on the
franchise list behind teammate Garret Anderson (1,742 and
counting). Salmon, who intends to retire at season's end, pinch-hit
for Adam Kennedy in the seventh and struck out. ... It was the
eighth straight game in which a Toronto starting pitcher has
allowed no more than three runs. ... 3B Troy Glaus, 4-for-24
lifetime against Escobar, did not start against the team he helped
lead to a World Series title in 2002. He came in defensively in the