Perhaps that was a good thing.
"No matter for me who's hitting, who's pitching," the 22-year-old right-hander said after facing the Red Sox for the first time.
The rookie took a two-hit shutout into the eighth inning as the Los Angeles Angels beat Boston 4-2 on Saturday in a matchup of AL division leaders.
"Ignorance is bliss," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Whether he's facing Boston or a team that's not as talented offensively, you've still got to make pitches."
And that Santana did, limiting the Red Sox to two baserunners before fading in the eighth. By that time, the Angels had provided him with enough offense for their sixth win in nine games.
"He got ahead of a lot of hitters, and his command was amazing," catcher Jose Molina said. "It's hard to hit a guy whose command was so good. He had to have his best stuff today."
The Red Sox entered with a big league-leading .285 team batting average, 689 runs and 493 walks.
Santana (7-5), who had an 11.34 ERA in four previous daytime starts, allowed five hits and two runs in 7 2/3 innings while throwing 111 pitches. He walked none and struck out five -- all in the first two innings -- while winning for the fourth time in five decisions since the All-Star break.
"He threw with velocity, movement, four different pitches, all for strikes," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Even the balls that ended up over the middle of the plate all had movement. And early on, there weren't too many over the middle of the plate."
Santana retired his first 11 batters and 21 of the first 23. The only baserunners for the Red Sox in the first seven innings were David Ortiz, who hit a two-out double in the fourth, and Edgar Renteria, who doubled to start the seventh.
Kevin Millar and Bill Mueller singled to open the eighth. Santana retired the next two batters before Johnny Damon singled to load the bases. Scot Shields relieved and allowed a two-run single to Renteria before striking out Ortiz on an off-speed pitch to end the inning.
"I was able to hit a pretty good spot with it; he swung over the top of it," Shields said. "That pitch wasn't even in my mind and Jose [Molina] called for it. I give him credit for putting down those fingers."
Ortiz gave Shields credit, too.
"That was a good pitch," he said. "I saw him pitching last night and he didn't throw a breaking ball at all. When a guy throws a 94 mph fastball, you've got to [decide] early what you want to do."
Francisco Rodriguez, who has struggled lately, worked the ninth for his 28th save in 33 chances.
"I know I've had some rough outings in my last six or seven outings," he said. "I think I'm back on track. The only way I can prove that is to get people out. I haven't lost my confidence."
The loss was the sixth in 22 games for the Red Sox, who lead the Yankees by three games in the AL East. Boston will move Curt Schilling back into the rotation Thursday night in Kansas City, ending his inconsistent stint as the team's closer.
The Angels took a 2-0 lead against Bronson Arroyo (10-8) in the third when Darin Erstad hit a two-out RBI single to drive in Adam Kennedy from second, and Orlando Cabrera also scored on an error by center fielder Damon. Erstad had the only hit in the inning.
"It was just a swipe and a whiff," Damon said of his second error this season. "With a close game like that, you just wish that kind of stuff doesn't happen."
The Angels scored twice off reliever Lenny DiNardo in the seventh to make it 4-0 on singles by Kennedy and Chone Figgins, a sacrifice fly by Cabrera and a wild pitch by Chad Bradford. The Red Sox used four pitchers in the inning.
Arroyo allowed four hits and two runs, one earned, in six innings. He walked three, struck out four and threw 116 pitches.
Schilling has been serving as the team's closer in the absence of Keith Foulke, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last month. ... Garret Anderson missed his seventh game because of irritation in his lower back and left knee. Scioscia said Anderson's bloodwork came back normal, and he hopes the All-Star
outfielder will return during a three-game series in Baltimore that begins Tuesday night. ... The Red Sox placed outfielder Adam Stern on the 15-day disabled list due to a sprained right thumb and recalled DiNardo from Triple-A Pawtucket. ... Erstad, the only player to win a Gold Glove at first base and in the outfield, served as the designated hitter for the first time since Aug. 4, 2002. ... Figgins extended his hitting streak to 10 games.