ANAHEIM, Calif. - A few innings after J.B. Shuck leaped all the way into the left-field stands to make the self-described best catch of his life, Kole Calhoun hit his first big-league homer off an All-Star reliever in the eighth inning of an even game.
The Angels' two young outfielders made some sparkling memories Friday night while leading Los Angeles to another dramatic win.
Calhoun punctuated his first four-hit game with a tiebreaking two-run shot, propelling the Angels to a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
With one big play after another, Calhoun and Shuck — who had three hits — earned their teammates' admiration and a couple of postgame shaving-cream pies in the face. They both delivered big hits in the three-run eighth against Steve Delabar (5-2) in the Angels' second straight win over Toronto.
"It was awesome. It's still going through my head," Calhoun said. "It was like the best feeling of my life."
Chris Nelson had two RBI singles for Los Angeles before his leadoff double in the eighth, and Shuck followed with a triple to right after Jose Bautista misjudged the ball. Calhoun then homered to right.
"Not all the wins are going to come easy, especially with our backs against the wall," Calhoun said. "We're going to have to beat those All-Star guys. We're going to have to compete."
Chris Iannetta had an early two-run double and threw out three Toronto base stealers for the Angels, while Shuck robbed Bautista of a homer in the fourth inning with his jaw-dropping catch. Shuck leaped at the short fence, briefly teetered on the ledge after making the catch, and tumbled backward into the stands, still holding onto the ball.
"When it started coming down, I just tried to go get it," Shuck said. "I don't know what really happened after that. ... I watched (the replay). It looks pretty unathletic, but it's pretty cool to see. I think that's the first one I've ever brought back."
Tommy Hanson blew another lead in his fourth straight winless start, allowing seven hits and three walks while pitching into the sixth. The Angels appeared headed to a loss before their youngsters sparked the eighth-inning rally.
Dane De La Rosa (5-1) pitched the eighth for Los Angeles, and Ernesto Frieri struck out the side in the ninth for his 26th save. The Angels' closer bounced back from two rough outings earlier in the week in Texas, where the Angels lost three straight on game-ending homers.
Delabar leads the AL in strikeouts by a reliever after dominating the first half of the season, but the right-hander hasn't been as sharp lately despite striking out the last six batters he had faced before the eighth inning at Angel Stadium.
"I threw one right over the plate, and he crushed it," Delabar said of Calhoun's homer. "When you give up three hits in an inning, it's not very good, and then you throw in a balk. It just wasn't there tonight. That's why I feel bad. We battled back to take the lead, then I come in and make a few bad pitches, and all of a sudden it switches to the other team."
Todd Redmond couldn't get out of the fourth inning for the Blue Jays, allowing seven hits and three runs while labouring with a high pitch count. The right-hander struck out five in his sixth major league start, but couldn't match his 10-strikeout brilliance last week against Houston — and after the game, Toronto optioned Redmond to Triple-A Buffalo, recalling right-hander Brad Lincoln.
Jose Reyes homered during a three-run rally in the sixth inning by the last-place Blue Jays, who have lost three of five.
"We let the game get away, and if that continues to happen, we're going to go nowhere and we're going to be home in October," Reyes said. "We had an opportunity to win this game, and we need to find a way to close them out, one way or the other. It's tough to play the way we've been playing. It's not acceptable with the kind of team that we have. We're better than this."
Los Angeles batted around in the fourth, with Iannetta delivering a two-out double. Iannetta also threw out three Blue Jays attempting to steal second base, a first for an Angels catcher in the past decade — and a particular achievement when catching Hanson, who acknowledges being horrible at holding runners on base.
Nelson, getting a regular chance to play at third base after Alberto Callaspo's departure for Oakland last week, delivered another run-scoring single in the fifth.
Reyes evened it with his seventh homer into the elevated right-field stands in the sixth, and the Jays went ahead when Bautista scored on Colby Rasmus' bases-loaded grounder.
NOTES: Los Angeles' stars didn't contribute much: Josh Hamilton went 0 for 5 and stranded six runners in a four-inning stretch with three inning-ending outs, while Mark Trumbo struck out four times. ... Iannetta threw out two runners trying to steal second base in the third inning. An Angels catcher hadn't caught two runners stealing in the same inning since 2002. ... Mike Trout reached base for the 33rd consecutive game, extending the AL's longest active streak.