The Los Angeles Angels’ first no-hitter in 21 years was also the latest in a string of stellar pitching performances.
Ervin Santana’s(notes) masterful performance during a 3-1 win over Cleveland on Wednesday gave the Angels (57-48) their first no-hitter since Mark Langston and Mike Witt teamed up against Seattle on April 11, 1990. Witt had been the franchise’s last pitcher to accomplish the feat by himself with a perfect game versus Texas on Sept. 30, 1984.
The Angels, already owners of the AL’s best ERA (3.28), have a 1.61 ERA over their last seven games - 1.42 for their starters.
“We’re getting terrific pitching,” manager Mike Scioscia told the team’s website. “We’ve given up the fewest runs (377) in the (AL). We’ve played a lot of close games, and the one constant has been pitching and defense.”
Pineiro (5-5, 4.61 ERA) will try to lead Scioscia’s team to its seventh victory in nine games by earning his first win in three starts. After going 3-0 with a 3.66 ERA in his final five outings before the All-Star break, the right-hander didn’t make it out of the first inning in a 9-1 loss in Oakland on July 17, giving up eight runs.
He had a more respectable showing Saturday in Baltimore as he allowed three runs over 5 1-3 innings, but also gave up 11 hits in a 3-2 defeat.
“I think tonight he kept us in the game even though he struggled with some things,” Scioscia said. “Hopefully when he gets refined, he gets location, he gets a little crispness back on his stuff, the results will be more like what we’re used to.”
Pineiro, whose .316 opponent batting average would be the highest in the majors if he had enough innings to qualify, yielded one run and five hits over seven innings during a 5-1 win over Detroit on July 4. He was tagged for a career-high 10 runs over 3 1-3 innings, however, during his last trip to Comerica Park, a 10-6 loss on April 30, 2010.
Pineiro, 8-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 14 career games against Detroit, has alternated losses and wins in his last six. He’s posted a 0.50 ERA in the three victories and an 8.00 ERA in the three defeats.
He’ll face a Tigers lineup that’s batting .291 over the last nine games - 25 points higher than the team’s season average. Detroit has scored 42 runs over that stretch, but got only Austin Jackson’s(notes) home run in a 2-1 loss to Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.
The Tigers (55-49) were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position after hitting .354 (29 for 82) in those situations during a 6-3 stretch.
“We just didn’t do a very good job offensively today when we had the opportunities,” manager Jim Leyland said.
The veteran right-hander has a 6.23 ERA in his last four starts against Los Angeles but has been provided with a combined 21 runs of support while going 2-0. He gave up four runs over 6 1-3 innings July 6 in Anaheim but got the victory in a 5-4 win, which helped the Tigers avoid a three-game sweep.
Penny wasn’t as fortunate Saturday, allowing four runs over seven innings during a 4-1 defeat at Minnesota.