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Ervin Santana goes the distance in Angels' 9-0 rout of Braves

He pitches a four-hitter for his sixth career shutout as his teammates rough up Atlanta's Tim Hudson for six runs in the third inning. Mark Trumbo's three-run homer is the big blast.

May 20, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angel starter Ervin Santana delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves on Friday night at Angel Stadium.
Angel starter Ervin Santana delivers a pitch in the first inning against… (Kelvin Kuo / US Presswire )

It's a common refrain for Torii Hunter, one that usually follows an extra-inning marathon, a bizarre late-game meltdown, a game that ends at 2:45 a.m. or with a nine-time Gold Glove Award winner losing a fly ball in the sun as the winning run scores.

"It's a crazy game," the Angels outfielder has said on numerous occasions this season.

Sometimes, it can be crazy good.

The Angels busted out for six runs in the third inning en route to a 9-0 interleague victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night, rookie first baseman Mark Trumbo capping the rally with that rarest of feats for the Angels: a three-run home run.

Ervin Santana (2-4) threw a four-hitter with seven strikeouts and no walks for his sixth career shutout, 10th complete game and his first win since April 29. No Braves runner reached second base.

But the right-hander was overshadowed by an improbable outburst by an offense that scored more runs in the third inning Friday night than it did in the previous four games combined — five.

The Angels had lost five consecutive games, seven of eight and were held to one run in their previous 30 innings.

And their best hitter, .322-batting Howie Kendrick, was out because of a minor hamstring injury.

The Angels were also facing one of the National League's better pitchers in Tim Hudson, who entered with a 4-3 record and 3.03 earned-run average and was three starts removed from a one-hit shutout of Milwaukee on May 4.

"Who knows when they come?" Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason, but I know we're a better offensive club than we showed last week."

That began to show in the third when Peter Bourjos, hitless in his previous 23 at-bats, led off with a double off the center-field wall and took third on Maicer Izturis' grounder to second.

Erick Aybar was hit by a pitch, and Bobby Abreu hit a run-scoring double to left-center. Hunter, in a one-for-24 slump, hit an RBI single to center and took second on the throw home.

Alberto Callaspo was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Hank Conger hit a run-scoring grounder to first.

With first base open, Hudson hung a slider to Trumbo, who crushed it over the left-field wall for his seventh homer of the season and first since May 5. It was only the second three-run homer of the season for the Angels.

"More than anything, I was happy I was able to stick with the same approach all game," said Trumbo, who was in a five-for-31 slump. "Some mechanical stuff has been creeping in mid-at-bat, and you're not going to come out of it very well if that's what you're thinking about. So I tried to block that out today.

"My approach was to drive the ball to the opposite field. It didn't happen, but the results were better because I had a better approach."

The Angels didn't stop there. Callaspo hit a two-out, two-run single in the fourth and an RBI groundout in the sixth, and Trumbo lined a double off the center-field wall in the seventh.

Santana appreciated the support. In four of his previous six starts, the Angels did not score a run while Santana was in the game, a span covering 21 innings.

"We needed that — we've been struggling," Santana said. "When [the run support] is like that, you have to feel comfortable."

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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