ANAHEIM -- The shy smile on Ervin Santana's face was telling.
"I don't know how to explain it," Santana said, shrugging his shoulders following the Angels' 4-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.
Santana had just become the first Angels pitcher in club history to lose his first six starts of a season, though not entirely by his doing. He has, up to this point, received just three runs of support and the Angels have been shut out in each of his last five outings. He has faced the likes of Kansas City's Jonathan Sanchez, Oakland's Bartolo Colon, Cleveland's Derek Lowe and, Friday, Toronto's Henderson Alvarez -- not exactly a list of leading Cy Young Award candidates.
According to Stats Inc., Santana is the first pitcher since at least 1974 to have his team shut out in five straight starts.
"I don't care about my record right now, I just care about pitching well," Santana said. "That's my goal right now. If I don't win it doesn't matter. I want to pitch at least seven innings every time."
He went eight innings Friday and struck out 10 batters, both season highs. He was in good rhythm early, until Jose Bautista tagged him for a towering home run in the third. The sequence seemed to drain the energy out of the 33,160 at Angel Stadium.
"Ervin pitched a great ballgame," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We just couldn't get him any breathing room."
It must be difficult, then, for Santana to pitch with such caution, knowing that one mistake could prove costly.
"I know we're doing all we can to score runs," he said, "but it's not coming for me yet."