Los Angeles (48-46) at Kansas City (32-62)

Fair Currently: Kansas City, MO
Temp: 91° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Thu Jul 20, 2006
  • TV: FSW, RTN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

In just his second season, Ervin Santana has established himself as the ace of the Los Angeles Angels’ staff.

Santana (11-3, 3.88 ERA) looks to record the longest winning streak in one season by an Angels’ pitcher in nearly five years when they start a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Thursday.

Since losing to Minnesota on May 31, Santana is 7-0 with a 2.96 ERA in eight starts. The last Angels pitcher to win eight straight decisions in one season was Jarrod Washburn from May 13-July 24, 2001. Now with Seattle, Washburn was 11-10 with a 3.77 ERA that season with the Angels.

Santana made his first start after the All-Star break on Saturday, and limited Tampa Bay to two runs and four hits over seven innings with six strikeouts in a 9-2 victory. The win also helped Los Angeles (48-46) get back to .500.

“He’s on a pretty good run, but I think he showed last year that he had that ability,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He’s got a little more experience now and his confidence is growing with every start.”

Santana, who beat Kansas City (32-62) on June 12, needs one more win to match the 12 he recorded as rookie in 2005. He’s also won his last four road starts, recording a 3.21 ERA in that span.

The right-hander also will try to help the Angels rebound from a rare loss. John Lackey’s scoreless streak was halted at 30 2-3 innings, and Los Angeles saw its season-high eight-game winning streak end with a 6-4 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday.

I told you 100 times that I don’t care about the consecutive streak. I’m just trying to win games,” said Lackey, whose streak ended when Ben Broussard hit a two-run homer to key a five-run fifth inning.

Los Angeles is in third place in the AL West, 1 1/2 games behind first-place Oakland.

The Royals return home after being swept in a three-game series by Boston, all one-run decisions including 1-0 defeats Wednesday and Thursday.

“Three good pitching performances and we wasted them,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said.

Kansas City has not been shut out in three straight games since July 5-7, 2004 against Minnesota.

Jimmy Gobble (3-3, 4.58) will make his fourth start since joining the rotation on July 4. he has failed to pitch past the fifth inning in his last three starts, recording a 1-2 record with 7.43 ERA.

Against Detroit on Saturday, the left-hander lasted five innings and gave up four runs and eight hits, but struck out a season-high six in a 6-0 loss.

“They’re a good-hitting team,” Gobble said. “I was just trying to minimize the damage as much as possible.”

Gobble pitched two-thirds of an inning of relief against Los Angeles in 3-2 loss in 10 innings on June 15. He lost his only career start versus the Angels on Aug. 29, 2003.

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Starting Pitchers

E. Santana Min vs. J. Gobble Col
16-8 Record 4-6
4.28 ERA 5.14
141 K 80
70 BB 29
1.23 WHIP 1.48