Santana throws complete game vs. Jays
Ervin Santana was staked to a five-run lead in the first two innings, which made him confident enough to keep challenging Toronto's dangerous lineup.
Santana pitched a four-hitter for his second complete game against the Blue Jays this season and Mike Napoli homered to lead the Los Angeles Angels to an 8-3 victory on Tuesday night.
"I gave up those three solo home runs, but I just kept focusing on the next hitter,'' Santana said. "We got a lot of runs, so that's the good thing. That made me work faster. I'm not going to throw a complete game all the time, but I just try to go as far as I can for as long as I can.''
Santana (4-3) finished with 10 strikeouts, one off his career high, after his teammate built a 5-0 cushion. Toronto's first three hits against the right-hander came on first pitch homers by Jose Bautista, Aaron Hill and Jeremy Reed.
In his complete-game 3-1 victory over the Blue Jays on April 18 at Toronto, Santana allowed just three hits over the first eight innings and retired 17 consecutive batters before Adam Lind spoiled his shutout bid with a two-out homer in the ninth.
"He's pitched two games terrific games against a deep offensive club like Toronto, which is encouraging,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. "Anytime you can get a complete game or get deep into a game, it's a benefit for your whole staff. When you make mistakes to this team, they let you know by driving it out of the park.''
The Blue Jays, who lead the majors with 78 home runs, did not get their first hit until Bautista hit his 15th homer with one out in the fifth. Santana started off 29 of the 33 batters he faced with strikes. Edwin Encarnacion, who hit five home runs in Toronto's three-game series at Arizona during the weekend, struck out all three times up.
"He kept the ball down and expanded the zone late in the count,'' said Lyle Overbay, who was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. "I think he located a little better tonight than he did in Toronto. He threw 3-2 sliders, so he's got a lot of confidence in that thing. It seemed like the only mistakes he made were the homers.''
Bobby Abreu and Erick Aybar each had two RBIs for the Angels.
Ricky Romero (4-2) threw 94 pitches over 5 1-3 innings, giving up a career-high seven earned runs and 11 hits – tying a career worst – against an offense that was shut out for the first time this season in Monday's series opener by Brett Cecil and two relievers.
The 25-year-old left-hander, who grew up in East Los Angeles and was pitching in his home state for the first time as a major leaguer, had about 200 friends and family members cheering him on from the left field stands. But Romero retired only five of his first 13 batters and found himself behind 5-0 after just 33 pitches.
"I always have adrenaline, no matter what. But I didn't put any extra pressure on myself,'' Romero said. "That's the beauty of it. I mean, you get to come home and pitch in front of your home crowd. That's what I've worked for my whole life. It kind of stinks that I didn't put on a good performance — not only for them, but for my team. And to not be able to come up with a good performance here was definitely disappointing.''
Toronto manager Cito Gaston did not get anybody up in the bullpen during the first five innings, deciding to stay with Romero in the hope he would straighten himself out.
"I believe in Ricky. Sometimes he's got to take his bumps and knocks, but you've got to leave him in there,'' Gaston said. "He could have held them there, he might have given us a chance. But unfortunately, he wasn't able to do that.''
Romero struck out the side on 19 pitches in the fifth, but gave up Napoli's seventh homer leading off the sixth. It snapped a string of 177 batters Romero had faced over his previous 41 innings without allowing a home run since Tampa Bay's John Jaso connected on a two-run shot on April 24.
NOTES: RHP Josh Roenicke, who relieved Romero after Aybar's RBI double, is the nephew of Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke. … Reed started in LF and batted leadoff in place of Fred Lewis, who was scratched from Gaston's original lineup because of a bunion on his left foot – the same malady that forced him to undergo surgery on his right foot in September 2008. … Reggie Willits started in CF in place of Torii Hunter, who was in Texas for his son Cameron's high school graduation.