ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Ervin Santana stretched out both arms and yelled skyward as he crossed the third base line, leaving the mound two outs short of his third straight complete game.
His frustration didn't dampen the standing ovation. Their Angels' right-hander is on an incredible roll, and not even Felix Hernandez could keep up.
Santana pitched into the ninth inning of his fourth straight victory, and Mark Trumbo homered off Hernandez in the Los Angeles Angels' 2-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.
Santana (8-8) held the Mariners to seven hits and won his duel with Hernandez (10-10), whose 12 strikeouts were one shy of his career high during his third complete game of the season.
Santana hasn't cooled down since his no-hitter against Cleveland two starts ago, although he can't say exactly what's new after four straight losses in June.
``I'm doing the same things I've been doing the whole year,' Santana said. ``I haven't changed. I had command of every pitch. Everything was working good.'
Santana escaped several spots of trouble before losing his shutout bid on Mike Carp's one-out homer in the ninth on his 115th pitch. Although he thought he could have finished, Santana barely failed to become the first pitcher to follow a no-hitter with two complete games since Ken Forsch did it for Houston in 1979.
``There's no doubt you come back (from a no-hitter) with some confidence, because it's quite an achievement,' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``Ervin has continued his roll. It's good because we're going to need him down the stretch.'
All-Star closer Jordan Walden got two outs for his 25th save.
Santana is 5-0 in eight starts since June 21, yielding just 17 hits and two runs in 33 2-3 innings over his last four starts. He has struggled for run support throughout the season, but the Angels provided just enough to beat Hernandez, the defending AL Cy Young winner.
After Trumbo's no-doubt homer in the third inning, Vernon Wells added a run-scoring single during a three-hit rally in the seventh for the Angels, who have won 17 of 22 at home while keeping pace with AL West leader Texas.
Hernandez retired 18 of the Angels' first 19 hitters, striking out four in a row while racking up nine strikeouts in the first six innings. Hernandez limited the Angels to four hits and didn't walk a batter in eight innings, yet he hasn't beaten Los Angeles in eight starts since September 2009.
``Santana threw a pretty good game, too, so you've got to give him credit,' said Hernandez, who dropped to 1-5 in 12 career starts at Angel Stadium despite his 15th career performance with double-digit strikeouts. ``He's a pretty good pitcher, so I just had to keep putting zeros on the board. He's got to do his thing and I've got to do my thing.'
The Mariners lost two of three in Anaheim despite giving up just four runs in the three-game weekend series. Seattle is 6-4 since its club-record 17-game skid, but still hasn't found any consistent offense.
``We've got a lot of young position players up here, and we've got to keep throwing them out there and let them keep learning on the job,' Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. ``You look at where we were opening day ... and where we are now, we're worlds apart. But we'll get better. Everybody goes through these times, but the pitching staff has been very consistent with how they've handled everything.'
Trumbo punished a breaking ball from Hernandez, clanging it off the fake rocks beyond center field for the 22nd homer of his remarkable rookie season. The Angels estimated its distance at 471 feet, the longest homer at Angel Stadium this year.
``It felt like I caught it clean,' said Trumbo, who leads the Angels in homers and RBIs (63). ``(Hernandez's) ball moves as much as anybody I've ever seen. I was just looking for one pitch I could handle.'
While Hernandez mostly cruised through the pleasant afternoon game, Santana repeatedly escaped jams. He gave up two straight hits in the third inning, but then threw out Kyle Seager at the plate on Jack Wilson's bunt back to the pitcher before Erick Aybar made a sprinting catch on Dustin Ackley's popup down the left-field line.
Seattle put two more runners on in the fourth, but Santana struck out prospect Trayvon Robinson, who hit his first career homer on Saturday.
All-Star Howie Kendrick scored in the seventh after reaching third base on Torii Hunter's hit-and-run single.
NOTES: Seattle has lost 18 of 21 in Anaheim despite ending an eight-game skid Saturday. ... The Angels have won 13 of their last 15 series. ... Following a travel day, the Angels open a six-game road trip at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday with Dan Haren facing Phil Hughes. ... Seager got his fourth career hit in the third inning. The rookie got his first career hit at Angel Stadium last month. ... LHP Charlie Furbush takes the mound for his fourth major league start when the Mariners open a three-game series at Texas on Monday.
The Associated Press News Service
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