"I think I like pitching here," Santiago said. "Their lineup is a really good lineup, so pitching against a lineup like that -- I feel like it makes you get better. It makes you bear down and you don't make as many mistakes."
Santiago allowed only three hits to the Rangers and also had three strikeouts and one walk. The Rangers put two runners on via a base hit and a walk in the first inning, but Santiago said he found his rhythm after getting Mitch Moreland to ground out. From there, that rhythm was evident for the rest of the night.
"The first inning I feel like is always the toughest for me," Santiago said. "You kind of find your groove, find your arm slot, figure out the mound. So that's always the toughest inning for me."
This was the 10th time this season Santiago has allowed one run or fewer. It was also the third straight start in which he has allowed three hits or fewer, and he improved to 5-4 with a 2.40 ERA on the season.
"He just had really good life on his fastball and moved it around, mixed in a couple changeups, a couple breaking balls, really pitched ahead most of the night," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's a strong seven innings against a team, like we said last night, that will let you know if you're missing your spots."
Santiago's recent surge of success has put his name into discussion for an All-Star bid, and even though it might be too late, Santiago admitted that was on his mind before Saturday's start.
"I want to say no, but yeah," he said. "… Today I definitely thought I could put myself in a good situation and put some pressure on them. Whatever happens, happens."
Regardless of any accolades, the Angels' confidence in Santiago has grown tremendously, and it's increasing with every start.
Cody Stavenhagen is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.