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Tigers Host Angels In Four Game Series

(Sports Network) - Joel Pineiro may want to try mimicking whatever rituals or pregame preparations Ervin Santana goes through before a start.

Pineiro will try to follow up Santana's no-hitter with his first victory in three starts as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim begin a four-game series this afternoon with the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.

Pineiro will be taking the hill one day after Santana tossed the eighth no- hitter in Angels history, a 3-1 win over the Indians. Santana struck out 10 and walked one batter, giving up an unearned run the first inning thanks to an error and wild pitch. He retired 22 straight before walking Lonnie Chisenhall in the eighth inning.

It was the Angels' first no-hitter since Mike Witt's perfect game in 1984, though the franchise did record a combined no-hitter by starter Mark Langston and Witt in 1990.

The 28-year-old recorded the third no-hitter thrown this season. One of those was posted by Detroit's Justin Verlander.

"I think what Ervin did today you have to really appreciate it more because it's a close game," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "First you're trying to win the game, and secondary is really what the results going to be, which was a no-hitter."

What Santana also did was pull his team to within two games of the first-place Rangers in the American League West by securing his club's sixth victory in eight games.

The Angels snapped a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning on Wednesday after Torii Hunter scored on a passed ball.Howie Kendrick, who helped persevere Santana's no-hitter with a diving stab of a grounder in the sixth inning to get the out at first, added an insurance run in the ninth when he scored on Peter Bourjos' single.

Pineiro now hopes there is some magic left for him as he has lost two straight starts since a three-decision win streak.

The right-hander has hardly showed no-hit stuff in that time. He recorded just one out at Oakland on July 17 and exited after being charged with eight runs -- seven earned -- on four hits and four walks. Though he managed to last 5 1/3 frames at Baltimore on Saturday, he yielded three runs on 11 hits to take a 3-2 loss.

In falling to 5-5 with a 4.61 earned run average in 16 starts this season, the 32-year-old right-hander at least sounded like he knows what he needs to do to get on track.

"I just have to get back to getting the ball down and in," Pineiro said. "I feel great, I feel good, it was just up. Everything; sliders, curveball and everything was up. It's just a matter of going back out there and working down in the zone really."

Pineiro did beat the Tigers on July 4, allowing a run over seven innings to up his career mark to 8-3 with a 3.16 ERA against the club.

That win came in the opener of a three-game set in Anaheim. The Angels took two games in that series and have won four of the past six meetings between the clubs since the Tigers won five straight.

Detroit returns home after a 4-3 road trip, ending the trek on a sour note with a 2-1 loss to the White Sox on Wednesday. Austin Jackson homered for the Tigers' only run, while Max Scherzer took the loss despite giving up only two runs over six innings.

The Tigers did remain two games ahead of the Indians for first place in the AL Central thanks to Santana's no-hitter.

Taking the mound for Detroit in this opener will be Brad Penny, who has given up 11 runs over his past three starts. He did win the first two games of that stretch before taking a loss at Minnesota on Saturday as he gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks over seven innings.

Penny, a 33-year-old righty, fell to 7-7 with a 4.51 ERA in 20 starts this season, but that does include a solid 4-2 mark and 3.15 ERA in 11 games at Comerica Park.

Penny beat the Angels on July 6 to salvage a game in that series for the Tigers, getting charged with four runs over 6 1/3 frames. He is 3-3 with a 5.50 ERA versus the franchise lifetime.