Angels 8, Blue Jays 3
Molina and Glaus, both of whom were instrumental in the Angels’ 2002 World Series title, returned to their old stomping grounds as opponents for the first time and received a warm reception from the crowd of 43,066.
The game featured a rarity—a stolen base by both Molina brothers. Jose Molina’s two-out steal against former Angels left-hander Scott Schoeneweis led to an RBI single by Adam Kennedy, triggering a four-run rally that gave the Angels a 7-2 lead after Toronto closed to 3-2 with a pair in the top half. It was Molina’s seventh stolen base in 278 career games.
“I had an idea he was going to running,” Bengie said. “Whenever you’re playing back and the pitcher has a slow, high leg kick to the plate, you’ve got to take advantage. And that’s what they did.”
The Blue Jays’ catcher was 2-for-4 in his first game back at Angel Stadium since signing with Toronto in the offseason. In the seventh inning, with the Blue Jays down by five runs, he stole second base without drawing a throw from his brother. It was his third steal in 742 big league games.
“That was something,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said with a laugh. “What are the chances of both Molina’s stealing a base on the same night? What do you think the odds are on Las Vegas on that one?”
No one was laughing when Glaus got hit by Ervin Santana’s 2-2 pitch in his first at-bat. The 2003 World Series MVP eventually came out in the third inning with a bruised left elbow. He was taken to a hospital for precautionary X-rays, which were negative.
“It was a two-seamer that broke too much. That’s why he got hit,” Santana said. “But I don’t want to hit nobody with two strikes. I wanted to strike him out or get a flyball or a ground ball.”
Santana (4-1) allowed three runs—two earned—and five hits in 6 2-3 innings. The right-hander did not walk a batter while striking out three.
Ted Lilly (4-3) allowed three runs, five hits and three walks in 4 1-3 innings.
Glaus, who signed with Arizona before last season and was traded to Toronto this past winter, and Molina found their old team banged-up and in last place in the AL West after consecutive division titles. But the Angels climbed out of the cellar by virtue of Santana’s second straight victory and Seattle’s loss at Oakland.
Los Angeles was missing center fielder Darin Erstad, on the disabled list since May 1 because of an irritation in his right ankle. Garret Anderson, experiencing hamstring and foot problems since Saturday sat out. Anderson and Erstad are a combined 4-for-39 lifetime against Lilly.
Jose Molina drove in the game’s first run with a bases-loaded groundout. Guerrero homered to left-center in the third inning for his 10th of the season after a leadoff single by Cabrera, increasing the margin 3-0.
Toronto narrowed the gap to 3-2 in the sixth. Aaron Hill reached on a fielding error by center fielder Chone Figgins and scored when Alex Rios doubled over Figgins’ head. Rios took third after Frank Catalanotto’s flyout and came home on a wild pitch.
Molina got a preview of the type of welcome he was going to receive about a half-hour before the first pitch, when he started walking across the outfield grass toward left field to play long-toss with Lilly. Gradually, the cheers from the early arrivers in the crowd got louder and louder and reached a crescendo when Molina tipped his cap to them.
“That was their way of showing me they still remember me,” Molina said. “They were showing me appreciation for all the years that I was here playing in front of them. I wasn’t expecting it, but as soon as I heard it, it made me feel really good to here those cheers. It’s something very special and it touched me right in the bottom of my heart.”
Anaheim Mighty Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer and brother Rob threw out ceremonial first pitches. … Blue Jays pitchers have allowed 56 homers, tying Cincinnati for the most in the majors. … The Angels have a 4.23 ERA through 38 games. Last year with Bengie Molina starting 100 games, they finished with a 3.68 mark, the team’s lowest in 16 years. … The Blue Jays had four players from the Angels’ World Series team on their spring training roster, including Schoeneweis and RHP Ben Weber.