Hector Santiago left games in April and June with leads, only for the bullpen to lose them, and a lengthy rain delay prevented the Angels left-hander from gaining a victory in Kansas City on June 28, when he threw four scoreless innings but couldn’t return after the delay.
So when the Angels opened an 11-run lead in the third inning against the Texas Rangers in Globe Life Park on Thursday night, Santiago, winless in his first 11 starts with the Angels, couldn't help but wonder if he would be hit by a sudden downpour or another stroke of bad luck.
"In the third or fourth inning, I was thinking, 'What's going to happen today?' " Santiago said. " 'Am I going to get dehydrated? Am I going to fall on the ground because of the heat?' I wanted to make sure nothing was going to fly into the dugout and hit me."
Manager Mike Scioscia admitted to having similar thoughts as Santiago, who needed to throw at least five innings to be eligible for a win, approached the fifth.
"I think we wanted to make sure nobody sat next to him in the dugout and stepped on his toes," Scioscia said. "We wanted to make sure he got through five innings."
That, Santiago did, giving up four runs -- three earned -- and five hits in six innings, striking out eight and walking one in a 15-6 victory, earning his first win as an Angel and improving to 1-7 with a 4.50 earned-run average.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels had season highs in runs and hits (17) and pounded Texas starter Colby Lewis for 13 runs and 13 hits in 2 1/3 innings, opening a 13-2 lead.
“These are the days you play organized sports for, especially baseball, where everybody is contributing, having fun, getting hits," said left fielder Josh Hamilton, who had three doubles and scored twice. “It was a fun thing to be a part of.”
Especially for Santiago.
"Thirteen runs in three innings? They wanted me to win more than I did," Santiago said. "I wanted to dump the water cooler on myself."