Ervin Santana sharp in another Angels win

He gives up seven hits and one run as he pitches into the ninth inning of a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners and ace Felix Hernandez. Mark Trumbo hits a 471-foot home run.

August 07, 2011|By Baxter Holmes

Ervin Santana has showcased pinpoint accuracy in his last four starts, all wins, one of them a no-hitter.

But in the Angels' 2-1 win Sunday against Seattle, the right-hander showed just how precise he can be.

The play occurred in the third inning when Seattle called for a squeeze bunt.

Jack Wilson sent a dribbler down the first base line and Santana ran to field it while Kyle Seager hustled home.

Standing off-balance, Santana fired to Bobby Wilson, throwing the ball to a spot that made it easy for the catcher to tag out Seager.

"He hit his corner on that one too," Wilson said, laughing.

The Angels scored only four runs in three games against Seattle but won two, continuing a trend: As bad as their offense might be, their pitching is just that much better.

Santana (8-8) pitched into the ninth inning for his fourth consecutive start, giving up seven hits and one run in 81/3 innings.

"He's got one of the best fastball-breaking ball combinations in baseball," Manager Mike Scioscia said, "and when he's commanding counts, he's tough."

Scioscia said that Santana has pitched well all season, but that he has become more consistent. The same is true of the staff.

In their last 10 combined starts, Santana, Jered Weaver and Dan Haren are 8-1 with a 1.03 earned-run average.

"Today I had the command for every pitch and everything was working very good," Santana said.

Well, almost every pitch.

He lost his shutout bid and his bid for a third consecutive complete game when Mike Carp hit a home run in the ninth inning.

"That was a bad pitch. That was not the right pitch for that at-bat," he said of the changeup that led to Scioscia's summoning All-Star closer Jordan Walden.

Santana threw his arms skyward as many in the crowd of 38,823 at Angel Stadium stood to applaud while he trudged to the dugout.

He yelled out of frustration as they screamed to cheer him. He tipped his cap to them, and they cheered louder.

The roars for Santana, who is 5-0 in eight starts since June 21, were almost as loud as the deafening crack from Mark Trumbo's estimated 471-foot home run to left-center field in the third inning, the longest home run at Angel Stadium this season.

The blast, Trumbo's team-leading 22nd, was hit against Felix Hernandez (10-10), who struck out 12 and pitched a complete game.

"I was trying to get a pitch I could handle," the rookie first baseman said. "His ball moves as much as anybody I've ever seen."

Hernandez, last season's American League Cy Young Award winner, had thrown three consecutive breaking balls and Trumbo thought the next pitch would be a fastball.

It was. And it was gone.

"That ball was properly struck, there's no doubt about it," Scioscia said.

The Angels scored in the seventh inning when Vernon Wells singled to drive in Howie Kendrick from third base.

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