MLB: Santana, Twins shut out Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Right-hander Ervin Santana returned to the scene of his earliest successes and frustrated the team that brought him to the major leagues.
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Right-hander Ervin Santana returned to the scene of his earliest successes and frustrated the team that brought him to the major leagues.
Santana and left-handler Glen Perkins combined on a four-hit shutout, and third baseman Trevor Plouffe hit a three-run home run to give the Minnesota Twins a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday in front of 36,134 at Angel Stadium.
The Twins earned their first victory after the All-Star break, ending a four-game losing streak and snapping the Angels’ stretch of seven consecutive wins.
“I got the big hit, but he’s the reason we won,” Plouffe said in reference to Santana.
Santana, who spent his first eight seasons with the Angels, conceded only four hits and a hit batter while striking out seven in eight innings. He generated 12 consecutive outs between the second and sixth innings and retired 19 of the final 21 batters he faced.
“It was sterling,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Santana’s performance. “He had a really good slider, and he mixed in a changeup. It seemed like he was one pitch ahead of them. They were caught in between velocity and trying to track that slider.”
Santana (2-0) expressed particular satisfaction in defeating his old team.
“It means a lot,” he said with a smile. “It means I’ve still got it, so that’s good.”
Perkins pitched a perfect ninth for his 29th save, which leads the American League.
Los Angeles right-hander Garrett Richards, who pitched a two-hit shutout in his previous appearance Saturday night, retired the first 11 Twins he faced before Minnesota scored the game’s only runs in the top of the fourth.
First baseman Joe Mauer became the Minnesota first baserunner when he doubled down the left field line with two outs. After designated hitter Miguel Sano walked, Plouffe sent a breaking pitch into Minnesota’s bullpen for his 13th home run of the season.
“On that pitch, I think he got under that slider and hung it,” Plouffe said. “Richards is a tough guy to face. When he throws that cutter, it’s really tough to barrel up.”
Until Mauer’s double, Richards had retired 26 successive batters in two games.
The Angels had a chance to move ahead in the bottom of the first inning. Second baseman Johnny Giavotella lined a leadoff single to right field, then went to third base two outs later when designated hitter Albert Pujols lined a single to center. Santana ended the threat by striking out shortstop Erick Aybar.
Richards (10-7) induced 13 groundouts and five strikeouts in eight innings while allowing three runs, four hits and three walks.
“We’ve got an incredible group, so I know it’s going to be like that every day,” Richards said about playing a close game. “I feel good about where my delivery is right now and how I’ve been throwing the ball. Tomorrow is another day.”
NOTES: Minnesota RHP Ervin Santana made his 300th career start and his second against his former club. Santana, who pitched for the Angels from 2005 to 2012, last faced them in 2013 while playing for the Kansas City Royals, when he took a loss. ... Twins LHP Glen Perkins passed Eddie Guardado and took over third place on the team’s all-time saves list. Perkins now has 117 career saves for Minnesota. ... Los Angeles placed 3B David Freese on the disabled list with a broken right index finger and recalled INF Kyle Kubitza from Triple-A Salt Lake. Freese was hit by a pitch from Twins RHP Mike Pelfrey in the fourth inning Wednesday night. ... Angels CF Mike Trout returned to his regular defensive position after serving as the designated hitter Wednesday. Trout missed a game for the first time this season Tuesday night because of a sore left heel.