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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Bats Stay Santana's Stumble: Angels 9, Rangers 6

At some point, one of the commenters on Halos Heaven was talking about the game's Panther, this in the fourth inning or so, and it always seems meet to keep one's mouth shut about such stuff because you never know how things will go in Texas, especially with that offense. Ervin Santana was good enough to get the win, but he wasn't by any stretch of the imagination Good, raising his ERA from 3.28 at the start of the game to 3.53 at the end of it, a quarter of a run all by itself. Fortunately for him, Luis Mendoza was even worse, and the Angels actually accomplished two things at once by obliterating him after only an inning and a third. First, they picked up a win, as the team only scored one run off non-Mendoza pitchers, that being Torii Hunter's second solo shot off reliever Dustin Nippert; and second, they got to knock off the probable starter in Thursday's game, i.e. Nippert.

And a mighty good thing that was, too, as Nippert was damned good. He's been not much of a pitcher most of his career, posting ERA+ numbers well under 100 every year of his major league career, most of them with the Diamondbacks. But every tall starter will get a chance, and sometimes two, and so Nippert found a way to mow down the Angels.

But back to Mendoza: the Angels' early offense was just batting practice, with Vlad's homer ending up in the upper deck in left, and Torii Hunter ripping a tape-measure blast. So ridiculous was the outburst, that Jeff Mathis' two-run jack got lost in the flurry.

One of the odder moments in the game was Mike Scioscia getting ejected from the game for arguing a hit-by-pitch call on Howie Kendrick in the top of the fifth. According to the radio crew, it was pretty obvious from the front.

K-Rod came in and nailed down a save that was scarier at the time than it really was in retrospect, simply because the winning run never came to the plate. A Texas attempt at a double steal got chalked up to defensive indifference, and David Murphy — who had earlier homered against Santana — lined out hard to Casey Kotchman. With the save, Frankie beat John Smoltz' record for saves before the All-Star break, and how about that.

Yahoo boxMLB.com recap

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