Ervin Santana makes Mike Scioscia gamble pay off
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia took a gamble Saturday by starting Ervin Santana on only three days' rest, but the right-hander made it pay off, gutting his way through seven innings to lift the Angels to an 8-4 win over the Texas Rangers in front of a sellout crowd of 48,453 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Santana was backed by a season-high five solo home runs as every Angel starter except Mark Trumbo had at least one hit. It was the first time since 1985 the Angels have had five players hit solo home runs and, with that piece of history, they moved back to within two games of division-leading Texas with 30 games to play.
Santana was dominant early, retiring the first nine Rangers in order on only 38 pitches. But he struggled his second time through the lineup, giving up two fourth-inning runs on a walk, a hit batter, a sacrifice fly and a run-scoring single by former Angel Mike Napoli.
But by then the Angels were ahead, 4-0, on home runs by Vernon Wells, Mike Trout and Bobby Wilson and a run-scoring single by Torii Hunter.
The teams each scored twice in the fifth inning, the Angels on a Peter Bourjos home run and an Erick Aybar single and the Rangers on David Murphy's two-run home run.
That marked the end of the line for starter C.J. Wilson (13-6), who held the Angels to one earned run in a win 11 days ago in Anaheim.
The Angels then put the game away in the seventh inning when Koij Uehara gave up a home run by Howie Kendrick and a run-scoring triple by Wells.
Santana pitched seven innings and 95 pitches before being lifted for left-hander Scott Downs. It was an economical night for Santana (10-9), who gave up four runs and four hits to win for the seventh time in his last eight decisions.
-- Kevin Baxter reporting from Arlington, Texas
Photo: Angels starting pitcher Ervin Santana faced the Texas Rangers on Saturday night on only three days' rest. Credit: Rick Yeatts / Getty Images