Santana tosses 5-hitter in second major-league start

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Nobody in the American League was pitching better than Jon Garland until he ran into a 22-year-old kid making his second major-league start.

Ervin Santana threw a five-hit shutout and handed Garland his first loss of the season as the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Chicago White Sox 4-0 on Monday night in a matchup of AL division leaders.

"It's tough to win a game if you can't score," said Garland, who was trying to become the first nine-game winner in the majors.

Instead, the White Sox were shut out for the first time this season by Santana, who was coming off a rocky big-league debut.

Santana (1-1) struck out seven and walked one less than a week after the right-hander lasted only four innings in a 13-5 loss at Cleveland on May 17, allowing the first four batters to hit for the cycle.

"I had concentration every pitch, every inning, every hitter. The key for me was to keep the ball down and mix up my pitches," Santana said. "My first start I was too fast and this start I slowed down. When I go too fast, all my pitches are up, and when I slow down, everything is down."

Darin Erstad and Orlando Cabrera each had three hits for the Angels, who have won six of eight. Adam Kennedy hit a two-run double in the second inning and Bengie Molina had a solo homer and an RBI single.

"What a game," Erstad said. "I guess it only took him one start to get comfortable. He just pitched fantastic."

Only two White Sox runners reached second base against Santana, who became the youngest Angels pitcher to throw a shutout since 21-year-old Jim Abbott beat Roger Clemens and the Red Sox 5-0 with a four-hitter on May 17, 1989.

"That was an incredible effort," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He pitched like a 10-year vet. It was fun to watch."

Garland (8-1) gave up three runs and a season-high 11 hits, struck out four and walked one in seven innings.

"I'll go out there and do that every game, whether I lost them all or won them all," he said. "There's going to be days like that. Guys are going to be shut down at the plate. Guys are going to throw the ball well. It's a game, it's going to happen."

The right-hander lost for the first time since Sept. 16 at Minnesota. He won his previous 10 starts, the longest streak by a White Sox pitcher since LaMarr Hoyt won 11 straight from Aug. 22, 1983, to April 10, 1984.

"You never forget what it's like to lose," Garland said. "I hate losing."

The White Sox were coming off an emotional three-game series with the crosstown-rival Cubs. They won two of three, losing 4-3 on Sunday.

"That was a big series. Guys were tired, a long flight out here," Garland said. "If that's part of it, I don't know. I'm not going to take anything away from him, he threw the ball great."

Garland walked Dallas McPherson with two outs in the second. Center fielder Timo Perez fielded Cabrera's single and made a perfect throw on the fly to third base in plenty of time to get McPherson, but the ball glanced off Joe Crede's glove and the Angels had two runners in scoring position for Kennedy.

"They got a bit lucky when it came to those runs," Garland said. "A few plays and they don't have anything on the board. I don't know if they scored any on a hard-hit ball, maybe the first two."

The Angels made it 3-0 in the fifth on Molina's RBI single after Steve Finley led off with a ground-rule double and was sacrificed to third by Juan Rivera.

Molina's homer off Luis Vizcaino in the eighth made it 4-0.

Los Angeles provided solid defense for Santana. Erstad made backhanded catches of foul balls while leaning over the railing at the White Sox dugout in the first and fifth. Erstad also started a double play in the seventh.

Game notes
After the game, the Angels optioned right-hander Kevin Gregg to
Triple-A Salt Lake and recalled right-hander Chris Bootcheck. ... Santana was the first Angels rookie to throw a shutout since Brian Cooper against Oakland on June 30, 2000. ... The Angels have been limited to five runs or fewer in 24 of their last 26 games. ... Erstad went 3-for-4 and has hit safely in 22 of the Angels' last 23 games against the White Sox. He is batting .350 against them, the highest average of any active player. ... Chicago dropped to 13-38 in Anaheim since 1994, the last time the team won a series here.