Sox's Santos topples a Rivera mark

BALTIMORE -- In just his first season as a closer, Sergio Santos has already eliminated one Mariano Rivera record.

When the White Sox right-hander closed out the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday for his 26th save he ran his streak to 25 consecutive scoreless outings on the road to start the season. That broke a tie with Rivera for the best ever.

Going back to last season, Santos has delivered 30 consecutive scoreless outings on the road.

A White Sox official waited until after the game to inform Santos about the accomplishment.

“I didn’t know there was a record,” Santos confessed. “I knew I hadn’t given up a run at all on the road. But it’s one of those things that just kind of happened. It just so happens I was pitching pretty good and it just so happened on the road.”

What might have gotten Santos to the record was advice he received from Rivera himself. Like he was at high-school homecoming and figuring out a way to ask the prettiest girl in school to dance, Santos wanted to pick Rivera’s brain when the team was in New York earlier this year but didn’t know how to break the ice.

On the last day of the series Santos finally approached his hero and the two chatted in the outfield during batting practice for over a half hour.

Most important among the questions Santos asked that day was how to deal with the pressure of the late innings with the game on the line. For the most part this year, Santos has looked like a cool customer with the game on the line.

“I’m lucky and fortunate it’s coming together,” Santos said. “I’m throwing strikes, which is my main goal and I can live with what happens if I’m throwing strikes.”