ANAHEIM, Calif. — Andrew Heaney feels awfully comfortable on the mound in Anaheim — and the results reflect that.
Heaney pitched seven solid innings in another quality start, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 2-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.
In his last six starts at Angel Stadium, Heaney is 4-1 with a 0.88 ERA. Since April 27, his home ERA is second-best in the majors to Jon Lester (0.56 ERA).
"I like pitching here," Heaney said. "It's a familiar place. Pitched the majority of my career here. It's a good place to pitch when you have our
Heaney (4-5) allowed just one run and nine hits, and struck out four with no walks. The left-hander has gone at least seven innings in three of his last four starts.
The Angels got on the scoreboard with a two-run first inning, giving Heaney all the support he would need. Justin Upton drew a two-out walk and Albert Pujols doubled him in. Luis Valbuena singled in Pujols from second to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.
The Blue Jays had things going in the seventh when Devon Travis hit a run-scoring double to right field to pull Toronto within a run at 2-1. But with runners on first and second, Heaney struck out Justin Smoak and got Yangervis Solarte to fly out to left field. Heaney punctuated Upton's catch in left field with a fist pump - and his night was done.
Upton also made a fantastic, leaping catch against the left-field fence to rob Russell Martin of a potential home run in the second inning, which proved to be critical in a tight game.
"I try to catch every ball," Upton said. "I just got a good jump on that. I got a pretty good read on where it was going to be so I ran to that spot, found out where the fence was and went up to catch it."
It was early in the game, but it would be a big factor in the final result.
"We threw some hits up there, we just couldn't get that big one," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "That was a big play with Upton catching Russ' ball early in the game. You don't realize at that time (it's big). Marco (Estrada) did a great job. Heaney did a great job. It was one of those ballgames where a big hit could've made a difference."
Estrada (4-7) had a fine start, too. He allowed just two earned runs and three hits in seven innings and struck out seven. He got Mike Trout out all three times he faced him, including two on called strikeouts.
"To be honest with you, that first inning I had the sun right in my face, I don't know what it was," Estrada said. "There was a little opening at the top part of the stadium. I had no idea where the ball was going. It was really hard to see. Once that went away, I started making better pitches. Just elevated a lot. A lot of fastballs today up in the zone. That's a really good lineup over there. I've struggled against them. Good to give the guys some innings and keep them in the game, but just came up short."
Cam Bedrosian threw a perfect eighth in relief, and Blake Parker pitched a perfect ninth to earn his ninth save.
"It's been good to win and good to hold some leads and get a little momentum after a couple, I wouldn't say bad outings, but a couple outings where I gave up some runs," Parker said. "I just wanted to stay aggressive and continue to throw quality strikes. It was a big win. The bullpen, in particular, would like to keep coming in and shutting it down and carry that on into the road trip."
Asked about Upton's leaping catch, Heaney said: "It's just what they do. It's not abnormal. They do that all the time. You get numb to stuff that Simba (Andrelton Simmons) does over there. Valbuena has been playing great. We've got tons of guys who can make plays like that, so it's great to have them behind me."
Simmons struck out in the fourth inning, a rarity for the Angels shortstop. It was his first strikeout since May 18, a span of 90 plate appearances. It was the fourth-longest streak in club history.
SOMETHING TO IT
The Blue Jays have lost 13 of their 14 games against left-handed starters.
Blue Jays: RHP Danny Barnes (knee tendinitis) was placed on the 10-day disabled list. ... OF Steve Pearce (left oblique strain) was activated from the 10-day disabled list. ... INF Josh Donaldson (calf tightness) is rehabbing in Florida and not scheduled to return on the team's road trip, but possibly the Blue Jays' next homestand.
Angels: RHP Shohei Ohtani (elbow) stood in the batter's box in the bullpen and watched pitches to work on his timing while he's on the disabled list. He's also running to stay in shape. He's scheduled to have his elbow re-evaluated Thursday. ... LHP Tyler Skaggs, who was scratched on the day of his scheduled start on Thursday with tightness in a hamstring, threw long toss and will throw a bullpen session on Saturday.
Blue Jays: LHP Marcus Stroman (0-5, 7.71) is still looking for his first win of the season. It's his first start since May 8, when he was placed on the disabled list with right shoulder fatigue.
Angels: RHP Jaime Barria (5-3, 3.57) is tied for the AL lead for rookies with wins. In his last start, he allowed a career-high six earned runs on six hits over four innings in a loss to Arizona.
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By Jill Painter Lopez, The Associated Press