Santana concludes strong month as Angels down RangersAug 30, 2008 - 6:18 AM ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are making a mockery of the American League West, and Ervin Santana continued his personal assault on division rivals on Friday.
Santana pitched eight masterful innings to lead the Angels to a 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers.
With the win, Anaheim (82-52) increased its division lead to 17 games over second-place Texas (66-70), reducing the Angels' magic number to 11 in hopes of securing their fourth division title in five seasons.
Santana (14-5) completed his standout month, allowing one run and five hits in improving to 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA in six August starts.
"If you work hard during the winter, you are going to be strong late in the year," Santana said. "I feel the same as I did at the start of the year and my arm and everything is still there."
The righthander struck out seven, marking the sixth time in as many outings this month he has reached that total.
"Pitch by pitch, inning by inning, I was just trying to make good pitches," Santana said. "I was concentrating on not losing my focus. Even after I gave up hits, I had to keep focused. This year, I am really pitching how I can pitch, everything is good and I feel strong."
While improving to 7-0 against AL West opponents this season, Santana won for the first time in four starts after being provided with a combined seven runs of support over his previous three outings.
"(Ervin) was in great rhythm tonight; he had great command and great mechanics, " Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He maintained his velocity through the eight innings.
"He was pitching with his back against the wall for most of the game; we didn't score many runs for him and he gave a great effort."
Francisco Rodriguez set down the side in order in the ninth to post his 52nd save of the season, five short of tying the single-season record set by Bobby Thigpen of the Chicago White Sox in 1990.
After Milton Bradley provided the only offense for Texas with an RBI single in the fourth, Garret Anderson sparked a three-run rally in the sixth with a two-run homer off Dustin Nippert (1-4).
"One pitch can change the game," Anderson said. "I was able to recognize the changeup and stay on it and keep it fair. I enjoy coming out and producing. My drive is looking for my next hit and RBI. That's what I focus on every day."
"He (Nippert) did an excellent job," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He really held a pretty good team down and got us deep into the ballgame. But we left a pitch up in the zone in the sixth, and you don't leave pitches up in the zone to Garret Anderson too often. That was one that he took out."
After Mark Teixeira reached on a single and Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter each drew walks to load the bases, Nippert was pulled with one out in the sixth in favor of reliever Warner Madrigal.
Following the pitching change, Juan Rivera plated the Angels' final run with a sacrifice fly.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
TEXAS 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
LA ANGELS 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 x 3 6 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: TEX - DUSTIN NIPPERT, WARNER MADRIGAL (6TH), JOSH RUPE (7TH) AND
LAA - ERVIN SANTANA, FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ (9TH) AND JEFF
HOME RUNS: TEX - NON
Aug 30 12:34 AM
AT LA ANGELS - SCORING UPDATE
TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY GARRET ANDERSON (14) TO RIGHT WITH 1
OUT IN THE 6TH OFF DUSTIN NIPPERT SCORED CHONE FIGGINS.
CURRENT SCORE: TEXAS 1, LA ANGELS 2
DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: M TEIXEIRA (.370, 0-FOR-2)
Rangers 1, Angels 2 Bot 6, 0 OutsAug 29 11:37 PM
AT LA ANGELS - SCORING UPDATE
SINGLE BY MILTON BRADLEY SCORED MICHAEL YOUNG.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M BRADLEY ON FIRST, 1 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: TEXAS 1
LA ANGELS 0 TOP, 4TH
DUE UP FOR TEXAS: H BLALOCK (.253, 0-FOR-1)
Rangers 1, Angels 0 Top 4, 0 OutsAug 29 10:55 PM
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