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Angels' Ervin Santana gets some support in 6-2 victory over Twins

Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Howie Kendrick provide the offense as Santana's six-game winless streak comes to an end.

May 09, 2012|By Mike DiGiovanna

MINNEAPOLIS — It was the third inning, and it was only one run, but Ervin Santana reacted in the dugout as if it was the turning point of a playoff game, thrusting both fists sharply into the air after Mike Trout's run-scoring double clanged off the left-center field wall in Target Field.

The Angels right-hander, for the first time in seven starts this season, had a lead.

"I was very excited," Santana said after throwing 71/3 strong innings to lead the Angels to a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night. "It was a great feeling. I had gone a long time without a lead."

More than seven months, actually.

The Angels never led in a 7-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals on April 8, Santana's first start this season, and they were shut out in each of Santana's next five starts. The last time Santana pitched with a lead? Sept. 22 in Toronto.

But Wednesday night, the Angels supported Santana (1-6) with three runs in the third inning, two in the fifth and one in the sixth, and Santana made it stand up, giving up two runs and six hits.

"The guys on the bench were saying, 'It's about time, finally,' " Santana said. "Every time we put runs on the board, I tried not to get too excited. I focused on pitching, putting up zeros."

The Angels offense has been churning out zeros like a factory assembly line, suffering its major league-high seventh shutout and third in six games Tuesday night.

But the Angels came out banging Wednesday night, amassing 14 hits, one short of their season high, going seven for 14 with runners in scoring position and building at least a shred of momentum entering this weekend's series against the American League West-rival Texas Rangers.

Trout, who is growing more comfortable in the leadoff spot, had three hits, including two doubles, and drove in two runs, and Howie Kendrick had two singles, a double and scored a run.

Albert Pujols capped a three-run third inning with a run-scoring single to left field and a two-run fifth with run-scoring single to right-center field, perhaps the hardest ball he has hit to the opposite field since a double to right-center field against Oakland on April 19, his last multi-hit game.

No. 2 hitter Alberto Callaspo singled and scored in the third inning, hit a run-scoring double to right-center field in the fifth and scored on Pujols' single for a 5-0 lead.

Shortstop Erick Aybar singled twice and scored a run, his first multi-hit game since April 21, and played inspired defense, as the Angels completed their season series against the lowly Twins, going 6-3 against them.

"Ervin hasn't had much run support all year, but this game is about coincidence sometimes," Kendrick said. "It's not like we're not trying to score for Ervin. Baseball is a crazy game. We got shut out Tuesday and had 14 hits today. It's a good sign that we're showing what we're capable of doing."

There was a scary moment for the Angels in the third inning when Pujols, on his way to second on Kendrys Morales' fielder's choice grounder, was hit in the back by first baseman Joe Mauer's throw, stumbled around the bag and fell to the ground. Manager Mike Scioscia and an athletic trainer rushed to the field, but Pujols remained in the game.

"I was going to slide, my spike got caught in the dirt, and I couldn't turn," Pujols said. "But I'm all right. I'm fine."

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