|L.A. Angels «||0||1||1||2||0||0||0||0||x||4||9||0|
Still, the Angels barely held off the Kansas City Royals, who own the worst record in the major leagues, for a 4-3 victory Monday night.
"It's very important. We have to play like we're playing against the Yankees, or against Boston," Santana said.
The right-hander gave up three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. Rodriguez struck out three of four batters in the ninth.
"They were down 4-0 and came back. Even though they're not playing very well, they kept on playing," Rodriguez said.
The Royals fell to 16-46 as the two-time defending AL West champion Angels, in last place in the division with a 28-35 record, ended a three-game skid.
Dallas McPherson had three hits and drove in two runs to lead the Los Angeles offense.
Kansas City manager Buddy Bell was impressed by Santana, who walked one and struck out four.
"The kid's got good stuff, obviously, but he's got better command than you'd think he does, especially for a young power pitcher," Bell said. "I thought his command was probably the thing that made him most effective."
Held hitless by Santana (6-3) until the fifth inning, the Royals pulled to 4-3 in the seventh on Matt Stairs' two-run homer, his sixth, and a run-scoring single by Angel Berroa that chased the Angels' starter.
Bobby Keppel (0-2) gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings during his third major league start. The Royals' right-hander walked three and struck out one.
"Their young pitcher showed some moxie," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He made some big pitches, struck out (Vladimir Guerrero) to end the fourth inning with men in scoring position. He kept them in the game."
Said Keppel: "The last two innings I kind of got into a rhythm and threw some good pitches down in the zone."
McPherson, who went 3-for-3, is 13-for-32 in his last 12 games after slumping for much of the year. He staked Los Angeles to a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the second.
Stairs got the Royals' first hit when he singled sharply to right field leading off the fifth. Teahen singled with two outs, advancing Stairs to third, but Santana got John Buck on a fly ball to end the threat.
The right-hander allowed only one baserunner through the first four innings, a first-inning walk to Doug Mientkiewicz.
Center fielder Darin Erstad, activated earlier in the day from the disabled list, went 0-for-2 and walked twice for the Angels. He had been sidelined by irritation in his right ankle and was on the DL since May 1.
|Francisco Rodriguez pumps his fist emphatically after shutting down the Royals in the ninth. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Kansas City Royals|
|David DeJesus, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Mark Grudzielanek, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Reggie Sanders, RF||4||1||1||0||0||3||1|
|Matt Stairs, DH||3||1||2||2||1||1||0|
|Esteban German, PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Shane Costa, LF||4||1||1||0||0||1||2|
|Mark Teahen, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||1||2|
|Angel Berroa, SS||3||0||1||1||0||0||1|
|John Buck, C||3||0||0||0||0||2||2|
|2B - Shane Costa (, Santana)|
|HR - Matt Stairs (, Santana)|
|RBI - Matt Stairs 2 (), Angel Berroa ()|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Berroa-Grudzielanek-Mientkiewicz, Grudzielanek-Mientkiewicz|
|Kansas City Royals|
|Bob Keppel (L,-)||5.1||8||4||4||3||1||0|
|Pitches-Strikes - Bob Keppel 94-51, Jeremy Affeldt 19-13, Elmer Dessens 8-6, Andrew Sisco 14-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bob Keppel 5-9, Jeremy Affeldt 1-4, Andrew Sisco 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Bob Keppel 26, Jeremy Affeldt 5, Elmer Dessens 2, Andrew Sisco 3|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|Chone Figgins, DH||4||1||1||0||0||0||3|
|Orlando Cabrera, SS||4||0||3||1||0||0||0|
|Vladimir Guerrero, RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||5|
|Garret Anderson, LF||3||1||1||1||0||0||0|
|Kendry Morales, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||0||2|
|Mike Napoli, C||3||1||0||0||1||1||1|
|Darin Erstad, CF||2||0||0||0||2||0||0|
|Dallas McPherson, 3B||3||1||3||2||0||0||0|
|a- Tim Salmon, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Maicer Izturis, PR-3B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Adam Kennedy, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||0||4|
|a-walked for McPherson in the 8th|
|2B - Orlando Cabrera (, Keppel), Dallas McPherson (, Keppel)|
|SF - Garret Anderson ()|
|RBI - Orlando Cabrera (), Garret Anderson (), Dallas McPherson 2 ()|
|2-OUT RBI - Orlando Cabrera (), Dallas McPherson ()|
|Team LOB - 8|
|Outfield Assists - Garret Anderson 1|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|Ervin Santana (W,-)||6.2||6||3||3||1||4||1|
|Scot Shields (H,)||1.1||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|Francisco Rodriguez (S,)||1||0||0||0||1||3||0|
|WP - Francisco Rodriguez ()|
|Pitches-Strikes - Ervin Santana 96-64, Scot Shields 17-12, Francisco Rodriguez 19-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ervin Santana 8-7, Scot Shields 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Ervin Santana 26, Scot Shields 4, Francisco Rodriguez 4|
|Attendance - 36146|
|Game Time - 2:37|
|Temperature - 70|
|Umpires - Home - Wally Bell, First Base - Mark Carlson, Second Base - C.B. Bucknor, Third Base - Brian Knight|