CLEVELAND – Sharp from his first pitch, Ervin Santana came full cycle against the Cleveland Indians.
Santana threw the first solo no-hitter for the Angels in nearly 27 years and exacted some long overdue revenge, leading Los Angeles over the Indians 3-1 Wednesday.
This was the first no-hitter at Progressive Field, a ballpark that opened as Jacobs Field in 1994. And it marked quite a bit of role reversal for the 28-year-old righty.
Santana made his big league debut on this field on May 17, 2005, and the Indians gave him a rude welcome. The first four batters he faced in the majors teamed up to hit for the cycle – Grady Sizemore led off with a triple, Coco Crisp doubled, Travis Hafner singled and Ben Broussard homered.
Asked to recall that rough outing, Santana smiled and shrugged.
“It’s part of life,” he said. “We’re here today, we don’t know tomorrow.”
Santana struck out and 10 and allowed only two runners – there was an error on the leadoff batter in the first inning and a walk in the eighth. Just once was Santana’s gem in jeopardy and second baseman Howie Kendrick’s nifty play saved it in the sixth.
This was the third no-hitter in the major leagues this season, yet another sign that this is another Year of the Pitcher. Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano did it against the Chicago White Sox on May 3 and Detroit ace Justin Verlander beat the Blue Jays on May 7.
Santana (6-8) was certainly hot in Cleveland this time while throwing the Angels’ first complete-game no-hitter since Mike Witt pitched a perfect game on Sept. 30, 1984, against Texas. Mark Langston (seven innings) and Witt (two innings) combined to hold Seattle hitless on April 11, 1990.
Santana said he began to think a no-hitter was within reach after he got through the eighth.
“Lots of guys get to five, six innings, but that’s when things get a little complicated,” Santana said.
In his last start, Santana took a no-hit bid into the sixth against Baltimore.
It was the ninth no-hitter in Angels’ history. Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan threw four of them from 1973 through 1975. The last pitcher to hold the Indians hitless was Jim Abbott of the New York Yankees on Sept. 4, 1993.
The closest Cleveland got to a hit came when rookie Jason Kipnis led off the sixth with a grounder past Santana. Kendrick made a diving, backhand stop, threw from his knees and first baseman Mark Trumbo scooped out the low throw for the out.