Santana looks to help the Angels win their fourth straight series over the Indians when they wrap up their three-game set at Jacobs Field on Thursday.
Santana (12-5, 4.09 ERA) got knocked around in his major league debut against Cleveland (48-64) on May 17, 2005. He allowed six runs and eight hits in four innings of a 13-5 loss, but the rookie bounced back and threw a complete game shutout six days later over the eventual world champion Chicago White Sox.
Santana finished last season with 12 wins, tied for fifth among rookies in Angels history.
The 23-year-old right-hander matched last season’s win total on Saturday, giving up two runs and five hits in eight innings of a 10-3 victory over Texas.
“The hitters helped me a lot today,” Santana said. “I was able to get comfortable, because every time we scored runs I had to put up a zero on the board.”
Santana, who leads the team in victories, went 7-0 with a 2.96 ERA in eight starts from June 6-July 15. Saturday’s win snapped a personal two-game losing skid.
Los Angeles (59-55) lost 4-0 on Wednesday, ending a four-game winning streak. The Angels are in second place in the AL West, trailing division-leading Oakland by three games.
The Angels have won seven of their last 11 meetings with the Indians, and have not lost consecutive games to Cleveland since dropping five straight during the 2004 season.
Los Angeles finished with nine hits—all singles—on Wednesday, and only two of them came after the third inning. It was the second time in eight games the Angels finished with nine singles and no extra base hits.
Vladimir Guerrero went 2-for-4 and is batting .469 (15-for-32) with three home runs and nine RBIs in eight games against Cleveland this year. The Angels right fielder is 6-for-14 (.429) with two doubles in his career against Thursday’s Indians starter, Cliff Lee (9-8, 4.75).
Lee has gone 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA in his last four starts as the Indians have lost all of those games.
The left-hander gave up four runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-6 loss to Detroit on Friday, but did not factor in the decision. After giving up two hits through five shutout innings, Lee gave up two runs in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh.
“It turned it from a really good start into a mediocre (then) below-average start,” Lee said.
Lee is 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA in five career starts against Los Angeles, and is 1-1 in two starts against them this season, allowing seven runs in 12 innings.
The Indians have lost 21 of their last 30 games, and have not won consecutive contests since winning four straight July 1-4. A victory Thursday would give them their first series win since taking two of three from Cincinnati June 30-July 2—nine series ago.
Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez went 3-for-4 on Wednesday, and is batting .419 (13-for-31) in eight games this month.