Santana, Angels hold down A’s |

Santana, Angels hold down A’s

Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Ervin Santana pitched two-hit ball over 6 1-3 scoreless innings for his first win since June 9, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 9-5 Monday night.

Gary Matthews Jr., Jeff Mathis and Garret Anderson homered for the Angels, who maintained a 61Ú2-game lead over second-place Seattle in the AL West.

Santana (6-12) struck out four and walked five before he was replaced by rookie Rich Thompson with a 7-0 lead and a runner at first base.

Santana, 0-6 with an 8.28 ERA in his prior nine starts, left the field to a thunderous standing ovation and doffed his cap to the crowd of 39,164.

He was demoted to Triple-A Salt Lake on July 18 and remained there for a month.

Chad Gaudin (10-10) allowed seven runs – six earned – and eight hits in five innings. He is 2-7 with a 6.58 ERA in 11 starts since the All-Star break, becoming the first Oakland pitcher to lose seven or more decisions after the break since Dave Telgheder in 1996. The A’s are 14 games out of first, matching their largest deficit of the season.

After Thompson relieved, Matthews raced to left-center on the run and made a backhand catch on Marco Scutaro’s bid for an RBI double. Thompson then fanned Kurt Suzuki to end the seventh.

Shannon Stewart homered leading off the eighth, and Mike Piazza added a two-run shot later in the inning.

Stewart’s 11th of the season and Piazza’s seventh both came off Thompson, who was pitching in his second big league game.

Both of Oakland’s hits against Santana were singles by Piazza, who was erased both times on double plays.

Matthews, who entered 1-for-14 against Gaudin, drove the right-hander’s third pitch of the game to center field for his sixth career leadoff homer and second this season. The Angels made it 2-0 in the second when Maicer Izturis led off with a double over center fielder Nick Swisher and scored on Howie Kendrick’s sacrifice fly.

The Angels broke it open with five runs in the fifth. Mathis hit his second two-run homer in as many nights, Orlando Cabrera scored on a passed ball by Suzuki with the bases loaded, and Izturis singled home two runs after a two-out intentional walk to Anderson.

Santana walked his first two batters in the second, but neither advanced as Jack Hannahan looked at a called third strike, Scutaro flied out and Suzuki grounded into a force play.

Santana walked Hannahan to open the fifth, and Suzuki reached on a fielding error by Izturis at third base, but Stewart flied out and Swisher struck out on a 3-2 breaking ball.