Ervin Santana tries to stretch his unbeaten streak to six starts and get the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim back into the win column tonight when they start a three-game set with the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium.
Santana started the year with six straight losses, but has not lost his last five times out. However, he hasn't tasted victory either in any of his last three outings and has allowed nine runs in 10 innings of his last two starts. He's also surrendered a major league-high 15 home runs this season.
"I think it's a byproduct of challenging guys, which Ervin does," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's very aggressive in the zone with all his pitches and occasionally there's going to be guys who square up the ball and hit it a long way."
The 29-year-old right-hander, who is 2-6 with a 4.78 ERA on the year, was roughed up by the New York Yankees on Wednesday, as he gave up five runs and six hits in five innings.
Santana surrendered four runs in five innings of a no-decision to the Mariners two starts ago, but is 11-6 lifetime against them with a 3.66 ERA in 26 starts.
The Angels were denied a three-game sweep in their weekend set with the Texas Rangers, falling 7-3 in Sunday's finale. However, after an atrocious start, the Halos have gotten themselves one game over .500 (28-27) and have climbed into second place in the American League West, just 4 1/2 games back of the Rangers.
Seattle, meanwhile, suffered a series loss in Chicago and dropped a 4-2 decision in Sunday's rubber match at U.S. Cellular Field.
After erupting for 45 runs and 57 hits during a 3-1 stretch, Seattle managed just five hits in the series finale against the White Sox. Jesus Montero had two of the hits for the Mariners, who have dropped seven of 10.
Kevin Millwood (3-5) was charged with all four runs on seven hits and five walks over four innings to absorb the loss.
"I wasn't locating my fastball very well," said Millwood. "They just found some holes and I walked too many guys. I just wasn't able to make pitches when I needed to."
Tonight Seattle turns to lefty Jason Vargas, who is 6-4 with a 3.45 ERA. Vargas beat the Rangers on Tuesday, holding them to three runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings.
"Jason has been very consistent for us this year," Wedge said. "He's just very even-keeled out there. He doesn't get excited. He stays in his delivery and makes pitches."
Vargas lost to the Angels two starts ago and is 3-4 in 11 games (10 stats) against them with a 2.54 ERA.
The Angels swept the Mariners in a four-game set two weeks ago and have beaten them five straight times.