It had been so long, Los Angeles Angels right-hander Ervin Santana might have begun wondering what he had done to offend his teammates.
Before Santana took the mound against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night, the Angels had not scored a single run in his previous five starts (and only three total in his first six starts this season). According to research by STATS LLC, Santana is the first pitcher since at least 1974 to be on the wrong side of shutouts in five consecutive starts.
That streak ended in the third inning on an RBI double by Mike Trout. Santana could be seen in the dugout with a broad smile on his face, pumping his fists in the air. He repeated the gesture each time the Angels scored in a three-run inning. In the bottom of the third inning, he pitched with a lead for the first time since his last start of 2011.
"I was very excited," Santana said after the Angels' 6-2 win. "Our team has done everything to score runs over the past games. It just didn't come through. Tonight, we did."
Santana's teammates kidded him in the dugout about finally getting a lead, but second baseman Howie Kendrick claimed he didn't know how bad it had gotten.
"That's what you guys are for," Kendrick said. "Those things are just about coincidence sometimes. It's not like we're not trying to score runs for him.
"We look like a completely different team tonight (after being shut out Tuesday). Baseball's a crazy game. Not to say everybody's where they want to be, but we're close."
With the victory, Santana improved to 1-6 with a 5.09 ERA.