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LAA@TOR: Lind smacks two dingers, drives in four

TORONTO -- It didn't take very long for Adam Lind to make his presence known during his second tour of duty this season at Rogers Centre.

Lind, who was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday, had his best game in recent memory following a month-long stint in the Minor Leagues. The fact that it came in just his second game at home, and against one of the league's best teams, made it that much sweeter.

The veteran first baseman homered twice, while Yunel Escobar added a pair of RBIs, as the Blue Jays snapped a three-game losing streak with a 7-5 win over the Angels.

"It was definitely a relief to hit a home run and help the team win," Lind said. "This is the team that I belong on. I missed the guys for the month that I was gone and it was nice to be back out there mixing it up with them."

Lind's demotion to the Minor Leagues in May came as a major surprise. He was hitting just .186 with three home runs at the time but had more than six years' experience at the big league level under his belt.

That didn't dissuade the Blue Jays from choosing a stint in the Pacific Coast League over a spot on the bench. The main goal was for Lind to regain his confidence at the plate, improve his overall conditioning and make several mechanical adjustments with his swing.

It remains to be seen whether the move will lead to a prolonged period of success, but against the Angels on Friday night, it was Lind at his finest. The native of Indiana hit one out to both sides of the diamond and appeared to be assertive with pitches in the zone.

"He's just in a better place mentally," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "The struggles that he had earlier in the year -- well documented, needed to get a little bit of a breather, kind of free things up. The swings he took tonight are those that we have been accustomed to seeing for quite a long time.

"I think more than anything it's just his overall mentality, attitude, just a better frame of reference, a better level of confidence that he's playing with."

Lind really got going in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two runs already in, he connected on 1-0 pitch from starter Ervin Santana and crushed it to right-center field. Lind's third shot of the season went off the facing of the second deck and marked his first homer at the big league level since May 9.

That effectively ended Santana's chance to get the victory. He managed to get through five innings but was charged with five runs on seven hits while striking out two. The subpar outing came on the heels of two games in which he combined to allow just two earned runs in 17 innings.

"They've always been aggressive," Santana said. "Either they swing at the first pitch or the second pitch. That's the mentality they have, even last year and the year before. I was just trying to throw strikes and see what happens."

But the Blue Jays' 5-2 lead eventually disappeared, and the club found itself in a tie ballgame heading into the bottom of the seventh. With the go-ahead run on second, Escobar quickly fell behind in the count against Jordan Walden before sending a looping shot into the right-field corner to score Edwin Encarnacion.

Lind followed in the eighth with a solo home run off Hisanori Takahashi. It was Lind's first multihomer game of the season and the eighth of his career.

Carlos Villanueva gave the Blue Jays five strong innings of work in his first start of the year. He allowed one run in the third inning and another in the fourth before starting to run out of gas in the fifth.

Villanueva retired the first two batters he faced in his final frame, then surrendered a single to Torii Hunter and an RBI double down the left-field line by Albert Pujols. He was able to escape the inning without any further damage but was pulled from the game.

The 28-year-old was charged with three runs on seven hits, while striking out six. It was his first start since Aug. 3, 2011, after spending this year as the club's primary long reliever.

"I felt a little tired, I'm not going to lie," Villanueva said. "Those middle innings, when I had guys in scoring position, I had to work a little harder, but for me, it's when I have guys on base I have to slow the game down, slow the pace. It doesn't matter how the Angels started out, they're a great offensive team. You take your time, make some pitches.

"I felt fine in the end. I appreciate the trust they put in me for me to be able to finish five."

Right-hander Scott Richmond pitched an uneventful sixth with a 5-3 lead but served up a two-run homer to John Hester in the seventh.

That could have proved costly, but instead the Blue Jays came back and managed to score six-plus runs for the eighth time in 12 games. Lind was one of the main reasons why.

"My confidence was pretty good at Triple-A," Lind said. "You can raise your confidence there rather quickly. All I did was work down there, even tonight after the game, I'm working out, staying on the regimen they want me on. I've been here long enough that tonight was good, but the most important thing is tomorrow."

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