The Los Angeles Angels starter will try to remain unbeaten in his career against New York when the teams continue their three-game series Saturday at Angel Stadium.
Santana (12-6, 4.28 ERA) is 3-0 with a 2.65 ERA in three regular-season starts against the Yankees. He also helped end New York’s season in Game 5 of last year’s division series as a rookie, when he allowed three runs over 5 1-3 innings in a 5-3 victory.
The 23-year-old right-hander has already beaten New York once this year, as he allowed one run and two hits over 5 2-3 innings on April 8 in a 3-2 win in his season debut.
Santana has excelled at home, where he’s 7-2 with a 2.83 ERA in 13 starts this season.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is 1-for-10 in his career against Santana, including the playoff game.
Rodriguez had an awful night in his return to the lineup from a throat infection in a 6-5 loss on Friday. The third baseman, who did not start the previous two games, went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts.
“I’ve been swinging the bat pretty well on this road trip, until today. And today was pretty bad,” Rodriguez said. “I saw the ball fine. It was just a bad approach, bad swings, bad results.”
It marked only the third time that the reigning AL MVP had ever struck out four times in a game. Los Angeles starter John Lackey became the second pitcher ever to strike out Rodriguez four times.
Jim Abbott accomplished the feat on June 22, 1995 for the Chicago White Sox.
Rodriguez is 3-for-17 at Anaheim this season after going hitless in nine at-bats at Angel Stadium in last year’s playoffs.
New York (76-51) fell to 6-3 on its 11-game road trip with Friday’s loss, but maintained its 5 1/2 -game lead in the AL East over Boston.
Los Angeles (68-61) remained 5 1/2 games behind first-place Oakland in the AL West race.
Rookie Mike Napoli’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning was the game-winner for Los Angeles on Friday. Vladimir Guerrero had three hits and two RBIs for the Angels, who have won six out of eight games.
Los Angeles improved to 5-3 against New York this season and will capture the season series from the Yankees for the third straight year with one more win in this series.
Guerrero enters with a 12-game hitting streak in which he’s 20-for-46 with 12 RBIs. The right fielder is 10-for-28 against the Yankees this season.
Cory Lidle (2-2, 2.82) will make his fifth start of the year for New York. Lidle was terrific in his last outing, giving up three hits over six scoreless innings in a 2-1 victory at Boston on Monday.
“It’s a great feeling to help this team,” said Lidle, who was acquired along with outfielder Bobby Abreu from Philadelphia before the trading deadline.
The right-hander is making his second start of the year against the Angels after lasting four innings and allowing three runs and four hits and being charged with his first loss with New York in a 7-4 loss on Aug. 11.
Lidle is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in four career starts at Angel Stadium.