Leading off: Following Ervin Santana’s no-hitter, the Angels open a critical four-game series against the Detroit Tigers

July 28, 2011

Game of the day: Los Angeles Angels at Detroit Tigers, 1:05 p.m. Ervin Santana’s no-hitter provided some isolated excitement on Wednesday, but more importantly, the Angels enter this four-game series in Detroit just two games behind Texas in the American League West. Detroit, meanwhile, is only two games ahead of Cleveland in the American League Central, and needs to get back on track after dropping two of three to the lurking White Sox. Right-hander Brad Penny (7-7) will start Thursday for the Tigers, looking for his third win in his last four starts. The Angels will counter with right-hander Joel Pineiro (5-5), a journeyman who has had an up-and-down season in Los Angeles. Pineiro has lost his last two starts after the Angels won his six starts before that.

Other game to watch: Pittsburgh at Atlanta, 7:10 p.m. This series has turned into a mid-season classic. After needing extra innings on consecutive nights — including 19 on Tuesday — the Pirates and Braves will wrap up their four-game set on Thursday night. Pittsburgh right-hander Kevin Correia (11-8) has seen his ERA jump from 3.74 to 4.38 over his last three starts, and the Pirates need their de facto ace to rebound against Atlanta. Right-hander Derrek Lowe (6-8) has been a disappointment for the Braves this season, but Lowe is 10-0 with a 2.64 ERA in 10 career starts against the Pirates.

Games you should have seen:

Los Angeles Angels 3, Cleveland 1 . Los Angeles right-hander Ervin Santana threw the Angels’ first solo no-hitter since 1984 in a masterful performance against the Indians. Santana struck out 10 and walked one, allowing an unearned run in the first inning on a wild pitch. Torii Hunter scored the eventual winning run in the sixth inning when he came home on a passed ball with two outs. The no-hitter was the ninth in Angels history, the most for any American League franchise.

Atlanta 2, Pittsburgh 1 (10 innings) . A night after their epic 19-inning marathon, the Pirates and Braves went to extra innings again but only needed one extra frame this time. David Ross hit a walk-off single to drive in former Pirate Nate McLouth with the winning run. The Pirates have now lost five of seven.

Stat you should know:10. Consecutive seasons in which Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has hit at least 20 home runs after the 35-year-old slugger hit his 20th of the season in Boston’s 12-5 win over Kansas City.

Star of the day: Ervin Santana was the obvious choice Wednesday, completing the third no-hitter in the majors this season. Interestingly, Santana had been 0-6 with a 4.98 ERA in 10 career starts against Cleveland.

Chatter: “When you’ve got a monkey on your back that size, it’s damn hard to get it off.” – Mariners manager Eric Wedge, after Seattle’s 9-2 win Wednesday snapped his club’s 17-game losing streak. The skid, which began on July 6, was the longest in the majors since Kansas City lost 19 straight from July 28-Aug. 19, 2005.

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