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Angels’ Ervin Santana tosses no-hitter against Indians
CLEVELAND — Ervin Santana pitched the first solo no-hitter for the Angels in nearly 27 years, getting some long overdue revenge against the Cleveland Indians and leading Los Angeles to a 3-1 win Wednesday.
Santana struck out and 10 and allowed only two runners — there was an error on the leadoff batter in the first inning and a walk in the eighth. Just once was Santana’s gem in jeopardy and second baseman Howie Kendrick’s nifty play saved it in the sixth.
This was the third no-hitter in the major leagues this season, yet another sign that this, too, is another Year of the Pitcher. Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano did it against the Chicago White Sox on May 3 and Detroit ace Justin Verlander beat Toronto on May 7.
Santana made his big league debut on this very same field on May 17, 2005, and the Indians gave him a rude welcome. The first four batters he faced in the majors teamed up to hit for the cycle — Grady Sizemore led off with a triple, Coco Crisp doubled, Travis Hafner singled and Ben Broussard then homered.
“I never get a win against this team,” he said.
But Santana (6-8) was in complete control while throwing the Angels’ first complete-game no-hitter since Mike Witt pitched a perfect game on Sept. 30, 1984, against Texas. Mark Langston (7 innings) and Witt (2 innings) combined to hold Seattle hitless on April 11, 1990.
Santana said he began to think a no-hitter was within reach after he got through the eighth.
“Lots of guys get to five, six innings, but that’s when things get a little complicated,” Santana said.
He would know. Because in his last start, he took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning against Baltimore.
Overall, it was the ninth no-hitter in Angels’ history. Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan threw four of them from 1973 through 1975. The last pitcher to hold the Indians hitless was Jim Abbott of the New York Yankees on Sept. 4, 1993.
The closest Cleveland got to a hit came when rookie Jason Kipnis led off the sixth with a grounder past Santana. Kendrick made a diving, backhand stop, threw from his knees and first baseman Mark Trumbo scooped out the low throw for the out.
Santana threw 105 pitches, 76 for strikes. He had 0-2 counts nine times.
The crowd of 21,546, many on extended lunch hours for the noontime start, cheered loudly when Lonnie Chisenhall walked with one out in the eighth. Otherwise, the fans nervously sat in expectation of watching history.
By David Keene
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