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Magrane Stops Blue Jays for First Victory as Angel : Baseball: In third start for new team, the former St. Louis Cardinal left-hander gives up five hits in seven innings.


Joe Magrane had it pegged against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday night at Anaheim Stadium. About time, too. His confidence and patience were starting to wear thin.

Magrane was far from perfect in defeating the Blue Jays, 4-2, before 21,530, and he was the first to say so. But second chances don't come around often and Magrane is determined to make something of his opportunity. He certainly won't quibble with the bottom line: His first victory as an Angel.

Saturday was his third start for the Angels, who signed the veteran left-hander after he had been released by the St. Louis Cardinals on Aug. 16. He has improved in each appearance, giving Manager Buck Rodgers another name to consider for his rotation next season.

Magrane (1-1) went seven strong innings, giving up five hits and two runs to the American League East-leading Blue Jays, whose lead over the Yankees was trimmed to one game. Only two of the hits went to the outfield and Magrane gave up only one walk with three strikeouts in a 90-pitch performance.

He needed help from the bullpen, and he got it from relievers Joe Grahe, who pitched a scoreless eighth, and Steve Frey, who got the game's final two outs for his team-leading 12th save, and his first since Aug. 5 against Kansas City.

A three-run triple by Eduardo Perez in the first inning proved to be all the offense the Angels needed. But just in case Magrane needed more, Tim Salmon doubled home Chad Curtis, who had doubled to extend his hitting streak to 17 consecutive games, in the fifth.

"I was actually able to get back close to the way I used to pitch," said Magrane, who is still recovering from "Tommy John" elbow surgery. "It was very gratifying to do this against Toronto with their murderers'-row lineup."

Greg Myers, who caught Magrane's Angel debut in a lackluster loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Aug. 22, said there was no comparison between the two starts.

"He had real good command," Myers said. "He was working the ball in and out. He seemed a lot more relaxed and had a lot more control as far as stuff goes."

Rodgers hopes Magrane is sound enough to pitch again in five days. He was sore and stiff after a no-decision at Milwaukee on Aug. 27.

"This was a nice follow-up to the Milwaukee start," Rodgers said. "Hopefully, he fares better physically and is ready to go again."

Rodgers couldn't have been more pleased with the way Saturday's start turned out.

Before the game, he said he hoped Magrane could last six to seven innings, give up two walks at the most and stay ahead of the hitters.

"He was just about on the button for what we talked about before the game," Rodgers said. "He threw with a more consistent delivery tonight. He did a good job against a very good ballclub with good hitters."

Paul Molitor continued to batter Angel pitching, bunting for a single in the first and hammering a run-scoring single that caromed off first baseman J.T. Snow in the third. That ran his streak of consecutive hits against the Angels to six. Molitor, the league's No. 2 hitter with a .334 average, had four singles in Friday's 4-1 loss.

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