Adam Lind says he’s back where he belongs.
Lind drove in four runs with his first two home runs since being called back up to Toronto and the Blue Jays defeated the Los Angeles Angels 7-5 on Friday.
He returned to the majors on Monday after being exiled to triple-A Las Vegas on May 17.
“It is definitely a relief to hit a home run and help the team win,” Lind said. “This is the team that I belong with and I missed the guys for the month that I was gone. It was nice to be back out there.”
Lind was batting .186 with three homers and 11 runs batted in when he was sent down to the minors to get his game together.
It was, at least for one night.
Lind hit a three-run homer in the five-run fourth inning against Angels starter Ervin Santana and hit a solo shot in the eighth against left-hander Hisanori Takahashi.
They were Lind’s fourth and fifth homers of the season. John Hester hit a two-run homer for the Angels.
It was Lind’s first multi-homer game of the year and the eighth of his career.
“He’s just in a better place mentally,” said manager John Farrell. “The struggles that he had earlier in the year were well documented, he needed to get a little bit of a breather to kind of free some things up.”
Toronto’s Yunel Escobar had three hits including a run-scoring double in the seventh inning against Jordan Walden (2-2) to end a 5-5 tie. Escobar also made a spectacular play at shortstop to retire Mark Trumbo to lead off the eighth.
“Overall the bullpen has been great,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Those guys got a two-out rally started off Jordan. You have to give them a little bit of credit.
“We just didn’t set the tone early enough on the mound. Ervin got through the first couple of innings and in the fourth just missed with some spots.”
Francisco Cordero (3-4) allowed one hit in two-thirds of an inning to pick up the victory. Casey Janssen pitched the ninth for his ninth save.
The Blue Jays (39-38) ended a three-game losing streak and the Angels (43-34) ended a four-game win streak.
Carlos Villanueva, who was recruited from the bullpen to bolster Toronto’s injury-depleted starting rotation, allowed three runs and seven hits over five innings.
“Carlos gave us everything he could,” Farrell said. “We even pushed him farther than we had hoped with 92 pitches in his first outing but we wanted to give him the opportunity hopefully to get him the win. But once again we battled back after giving up the lead.”
Santana lasted five-plus innings and allowed seven hits and five runs.
Villanueva made 22 relief appearances this season before making his first start on Friday.
In five relief appearances against the Angels, Villanueva had never given up a hit to them and had 10 strikeouts. He retired the side in the first inning but Kendrys Morales opened the second with a double to snap the Angels 0-for-20 drought against him.
Villanueva escaped that inning unscathed but a one-out walk to John Hester and singles by Mike Trout and Torii Hunter produced a run in the third.
The Angels scored again in the fourth on Erick Aybar’s sacrifice fly to the wall in right centre that forced Colby Rasmus to make a fine catch. It scored Mark Trumbo.
The Blue Jays put together a five-run rally in the fourth, keyed by Lind’s first homer of the game.
Jose Bautista led off with a double and scored on a single by Edwin Encarnacion who took second on the throw home. Kelly Johnson sacrificed him to third and Escobar scored him with a single. Rajai Davis doubled Escobar to third and Lind hit a 1-0 slider to centre field for his first major-league homer since May 9.
“I’m not going to worry about the results as much as trying to have quality at-bats,” Lind said. “And see the pitches over the plate. Probably the last two or three weeks I’ve been seeing the ball pretty well but there `s nothing like doing it here at home.”
The Angels came back with a run on a two-out single by Hunter and a double by Albert Pujols in the fifth.
“I feel very good right now,” Villanueva said. “I don’t feel any effects from it. I feel fine. We have a quick turnaround tomorrow so I’ll probably be sore. I prepared for this in the off-season and I’m not surprised I was able to go to 92.
“I might have been getting a little tired but I think my pitches were still crisp. I was leaving my change-up up a little bit, that’s when I could tell I was a little tired.”
Reliever Scott Richmond of North Vancouver, B.C., had a 1-2-3 sixth but opened the seventh by giving up Aybar’s single and Hester’s third homer of the year to tie the game.
The Blue Jays moved ahead 6-5 with a run in the seventh against Walden on a single by Encarnacion, a walk by Johnson and a double by Escobar.
Notes: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 24,538. ...Villanueva made his 41st career start on Friday including 13 last season with Toronto. ...The Angels were 10-17 through May 4 and after Friday’s loss are 33-17 since that date. ...Encarnacion was hit by a pitch for a club-leading sixth time in the fifth inning. ...Right-hander Henderson Alvarez (4-6, 4.36 ERA) will start Saturday for the Blue Jays against Garrett Richards (2-0, 1.63 ERA).