Ervin Santana called Angel Stadium home for eight years. He was an All-Star and threw the Los Angeles Angels' first individual no-hitter in almost three decades.
Anaheim will be enemy territory for him for the first time Thursday, though, when he takes the mound for the Minnesota Twins against baseball's hottest team.
Santana (1-0, 3.66 ERA) went 96-80 with a 4.33 ERA in 236 games with the Angels from 2005-12. His tenure was highlighted by an All-Star nod in 2008 and a 10-strikeout no-no at Cleveland on July 27, 2011.
Though this marks his first trip to Angel Stadium as a visitor, it's unlikely to be worse than his only other start against Los Angeles. He gave up five runs and four homers over 7 2-3 innings of a 5-4 loss with Kansas City on May 23, 2013. Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Chris Iannetta - who homered in the Angels' 5-2 win Wednesday - all went deep.
Santana is 50-38 with a 3.77 ERA in 117 games in Anaheim.
The right-hander had a horrendous outing versus Detroit before the All-Star break, his second start since serving his 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. On Friday, however, he looked more like the pitcher the Twins thought they were getting after signing him to a four-year deal in December, as he limited Oakland to five hits and one walk over 7 2-3 innings in a 5-0 road win.
"I think it was big for him and big for us," third baseman Trevor Plouffe told MLB's official website. "We know what kind of pitcher he is. He's got the track record and got everything we want in a pitcher. he throws strikes, works fast, he holds runners well. He's a big boost to our rotation."
Facing these Angels (54-40) figures to be a tough test, given both the way they're swinging the bats and the pitcher they'll face. Los Angeles had 12 hits Wednesday and is hitting.301 with 27 homers while averaging 6.6 runs in a 13-2 stretch, which includes seven consecutive victories.
Trout, who missed his first game Tuesday due to a sore heel, and Pujols combined to go 1 for 8, but the Angels got three hits apiece from Johnny Giavotella and Kole Calhoun atop the lineup.
Garrett Richards (10-6, 3.24 ERA) comes off his second career shutout, a two-hitter in Saturday's 3-0 win over Boston. It marked the fifth time in seven starts he's completed at least seven innings while allowing two runs or fewer.
The right-hander looks like he's recaptured the form that made him one of the front-runners for AL Cy Young Award last year before a torn patellar tendon required season-ending surgery.
"I think he's shown a lot of the same things he showed last year," manager Mike Scioscia said. "There's been one or two (starts) maybe not exactly what he's looking for, but Garrett's throwing the ball very well."
Richards, who is 6-1 with a 1.89 ERA at home, won his only previous start against Minnesota, allowing two runs in 7 1-3 innings of a 6-2 victory June 25, 2014.
Minnesota (50-44) has scored five runs while dropping four in a row. Trevor Plouffe and Eddie Rosario are each 1 for 15 in that span, and the team is batting .185.
A fifth straight loss would match the Twins' longest skid of the season set June 8-13.
Angels third baseman David Freese is expected to miss at least two weeks with a broken right index finger after being hit by a pitch Wednesday night.