SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The only thing Ervin Santana was concerned about Monday was the health of his shoulder.
No problem there.
“Even if I got beat up today, the best thing was that I felt good coming out,” the Angels pitcher said.
Santana threw four scoreless innings and Howie Kendrick launched his third homer of the spring, but Los Angeles lost to the Colorado Rockies 4-3 on a frosty afternoon.
Santana, removed from his previous start Wednesday against the White Sox after taking a line drive off the right shoulder, showed no ill effects in his 61-pitch outing. He allowed just two hits, singles by Dexter Fowler and Todd Helton, while striking out four.
“The day that I got hit there was a lot of pain, but the next day it just got better and better and I knew I would be better for the next start,” said Santana, who threw a no-hitter last season and finished 11-12 with a 3.38 ERA. “We aren’t used to this weather, but I got a good stretch and a good long toss.”
Colorado starter Juan Nicasio went five innings and struck out four, but he ran into trouble in the third. Bobby Wilson and Erick Aybar singled before Kendrick hit a 2-0 pitch to center for a three-run homer.
Kendrick’s three homers tie him for the team lead with Albert Pujols, who was 0 for 2 with a walk and left before the darkest clouds of the day arrived.
The home run marked the first earned runs allowed in 12 innings this spring by Nicasio, on the comeback trail from neck surgery after being hit in the head by a batted ball last August.
“I was pitching to contact today. I threw a fastball 2-0 and he got it,” Nicasio said. “I knew I would give up some runs, but I feel very good.”
Nicasio yielded five hits and one walk.
Rockies third baseman Casey Blake, making his first appearance in eight days due to a sore neck following offseason surgery, was 0 for 2 with a walk and is 0 for 10 this spring with four strikeouts.
On a March day that felt more like Denver than Arizona, the Rockies got better as the day got colder.
Down 3-0 in the seventh as the clouds rolled in and the temperature barely stayed above 50 degrees, Colorado rallied and won the game on RBIs by Brandon Wood and Chris Nelson.
Chilly fans huddled under blankets they had been sitting on in the outfield lawn.
“You’re not expecting 50 degrees here. … When the wind came and the sun dropped, it wasn’t that much fun out there,” said Colorado reserve Andrew Brown, whose opposite-field homer got just enough help from the elements to clear the right-field bullpen fence.
“It was nice that my ball blew over that little fence there. I’ll take it.”
NOTES: Helton, who was Peyton Manning’s teammate at Tennessee and a close friend, said he was happy to hear that the star quarterback would be joining the Denver Broncos. Helton visited Manning when he was working out at Duke during the offseason and said he looked as good as ever. “He was fine,” Helton said. “I kept telling him how impressed I was, how far he’d come since he came out (for a visit) after he had surgery. I’m an untrained eye, but I knew (his passes) hurt when I caught it.” Helton said he thinks Manning’s arrival “will bring unbelievable excitement” to Denver. “I can picture him in a Broncos uniform. It’s a Broncos town and they have somebody to root for. He’s going to come in and play well and I’m excited to see it,” Helton said.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.