Monday, May 23, 2005

Santana and Angels Hand Garland First Loss

Rookie phenom-to-be Ervin "Babyface" Santana tamed the red-hot Chicago White Sox on Monday night while handing previously undefeated Jon Garland (8-1) his first set-back of 2005, tossing an impressive 5 hit complete game shutout in just his second big league start. The Angel offense remains as anemic as ever and their devolution into a National League ball club appears to be complete. Using timely hitting and Scioscia's beloved "small ball" strategy, the Angels cobbled together 4 runs while limiting the Sox to just 4 hits. With Vlad Guerrero sidelined with a shoulder injury for the next two weeks and Garrett Anderson going 0-4, Bengie Molina was the only Halo with a batting average over .300 when the dust settled on Monday night.

It was a good night for ending streaks apparently as Garland's string of 8 winning decisions in a row ended on the same night Chicago's current eight-game streak was also halted. In addition Santana put an end to Scott Posednik's 15 game hitting streak, shutting down the Sox's left-fielder and lead-off hitter who suffered through an 0-4 night with a K.

The most hits came from unlikely sources as Darin Erstad and Orlando Cabrera each had 3 hits. But the four Halo runs came courtesy of Adam Kennedy and Bengie Molina. Kennedy had a 2-run base hit in the second inning with two outs to stake the Angels to an early lead. Molina padded that lead in the sixth inning with a towering homerun shot to deep center. It was Molina again in the eighth who came up with a bloop single to plate Dallas McPherson who was at third with two outs.

It was unclear if Scioscia was going to let Santana work the ninth inning as the Angels were batting in the eighth. Scioscia was shown on TV talking to Santana and Rex Hudler surmised that he was telling the kid he pitched great but he was going to let the bullpen finish it up for him. Scot Shields was warming-up in the bullpen but after the Angels increased the lead to four and made it a non-save situation, Santana was given the green light to finish the game. A throwing error by Dallas McPherson allowed Paul Konerko to reach second with two outs. But A.J. Pierzynski grounded out to Darin Erstad to end the game and light up both the Halo atop Angel Stadium and Santana's 500 megawatt smile that is destined to grace more than a few sports pages tomorrow morning.

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