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Canning impresses Angels in big league debut

Goodwin's 8th-inning homer lifts Halos over Blue Jays
@RhettBollinger
May 1, 2019

ANAHEIM -- Right-hander Griffin Canning showed some impressive flashes in his Major League debut and Brian Goodwin provided the game-winning run with a go-ahead solo homer in the eighth inning to lift the Angels to a 4-3 win over the Blue Jays in the series opener on Tuesday night at

ANAHEIM -- Right-hander Griffin Canning showed some impressive flashes in his Major League debut and Brian Goodwin provided the game-winning run with a go-ahead solo homer in the eighth inning to lift the Angels to a 4-3 win over the Blue Jays in the series opener on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.

Canning, ranked as the club’s No. 2 prospect and No. 60 overall by MLB Pipeline, retired the first 10 batters he faced before allowing a one-out single to Freddy Galvis in the fourth. The local product from Rancho Santa Margarita and UCLA also had a stretch of five consecutive strikeouts, keyed by striking out the side in the second, and finished with six on the night in a memorable first showing.

"Being blunt and honest, that’s probably one of the best debuts I’ve ever caught," Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "I’m calling it right now -- I think he’s going to throw a lot better next time, which is pretty amazing because he threw pretty good tonight, but his pitch count was a little higher than I want it to be going into the fifth inning.”

Canning, a second-round Draft pick in 2017 who didn't make his pro debut until last season, ran into trouble in the fourth as he loaded the bases with one out after singles from Galvis and Randal Grichuk and a walk to Justin Smoak. He allowed his first run on a wild pitch with fellow top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at the plate, but he got him to ground out to short and struck out Rowdy Tellez to escape further trouble.

"Obviously, when I got those runners on, you kind of kick it in gear,” said Canning, who had roughly 300 family members and friends in attendance, including 25 in a suite. "It was just nice to keep it a one-run inning and control the game. I didn’t want that inning to get out of hand.”

Canning was chased in the fifth after giving up a solo homer to Brandon Drury to open the frame and allowing a double down the left-field line to Teoscar Hernandez. He got Luke Maile to fly out to right, but he was removed after having thrown 82 pitches. Reliever Cam Bedrosian came in and allowed an RBI groundout to Billy McKinney, which tied the game with the run being charged to Canning.

"He gave up some cheap hits and some guys had some good at-bats on him, but other than that, he threw really well," Lucroy said. "As I get to know him better, and as he gets more comfortable with me, I think he’s going to get better and better."

Canning allowed three runs on four hits and a walk over 4 1/3 innings, giving him a 6.23 ERA. But he induced 18 swinging strikes -- eight from his slider, six from his fastball and four from his curveball. His average fastball velocity was 93.6 mph -- topping out at 94.9 -- and he located his fastballs high in the zone to better set up his breaking pitches.

“He had good stuff,” Halos center fielder Mike Trout said. “I knew it facing him in the spring, but to see it in person, it’s pretty impressive. His ceiling is going to be unbelievable. He was out there, and he looked like he’s been up here for a while.”

The Angels backed Canning with a three-run fourth as Tommy La Stella plated a run on a one-out RBI single and Lucroy connected on a two-run homer off right-hander Clay Buchholz.

Goodwin proved to be the hero in the eighth with his solo shot off reliever Ryan Tepera to give the Angels the lead. It was his fourth homer of the year, as he's provided a major boost since being claimed off waivers from the Royals the day before Opening Day, hitting .338/.426/.575 in 26 games in the absence of Justin Upton.

"I can say we knew he had some power," manager Brad Ausmus said. "But he’s come across as a much more polished overall hitter than we expected."

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.