The next batter, catcher Matt Wieters, saw ball one go high but over the plate. Ball two just missed the inside corner, frustrating Santiago and causing him to exchange words with home plate umpire John Tumpane.
Ball three sailed inside, though Santiago thought he just nicked the corner. He bit his tounge, trying to avoid an ejection and simply offering a "Let's go!" chant of encouragement to catcher Carlos Perez. He looked down, ready for the next pitch.
There wasn't one, as Tumpane had heard enough and ejected Santiago after just 2 2/3 innings of work.
"100 percent [surprised]," Santiago said. "I looked down and I heard, 'You're out of here.' I thought someone had said something behind me or something because I don't know what happened. There was nothing said towards him after the initial reaction on my part."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia was quick to defend Santiago to Tumpane and narrowly avoiding an ejection of his own.
"There's no doubt that Hector was frustrated," Scioscia said of the decision to eject Santiago. "[As an umpire], you go out there and tighten him up, you tell him to shut up but you don't throw him out of the ballgame. That's wrong."
As a result, an Angels bullpen that had thrown 140 2/3 innings (third-most in the American League) entering play Friday was forced to work overtime again. Relievers Mike Morin and Cam Bedrosian combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings as the team climbed back to a 4-4 tie in the sixth inning, giving the Angels a chance at their third straight win.
They weren't able to hold on, as a two-run home run by Chris Davis off of Jose Alvarez started what would be five runs surrendered by the bullpen in the game's final three innings.
"Unfortunately, they got us late," Scioscia said.
A day after Scioscia said he hopes his starters would give the bullpen a chance to "reset," the relievers were instead extended even further. The Angels elected to option reliever A.J. Achter, who threw 48 pitches Friday, to Triple-A Salt Lake in an attempt to probably bring up another arm for the rest of the weekend.
Santiago, who was coming off a start in which he gave up just two hits over eight scoreless innings, remained adamant postgame that he didn't do anything wrong.
"Our bullpen was backing us, but it [was wrong] on my part for reacting in that situation, but I don't think it should have escalated that fast and I don't think I did something to get ejected," Santiago said. "I could have held my peace a little more, but I don't think I did anything to get myself ejected right there."
It was just Santiago's second career ejection, with the first one coming at Houston on Sept. 22, 2015.
Scioscia called the explanation for Santiago's ejection "shallow," claiming it was an error as to whom Tumpane thought his starter was talking to.
"You have to do more than what Hector did to get thrown out of a ball game, and that's a joke," Scioscia said.