Santana's previous start in Texas had been limited to 15 outs because Scioscia and pitching coach Mike Butcher wanted Santana to narrow his focus to break through some recent struggles.
Santana wound up throwing six innings against the White Sox, allowed just three runs (two earned) and left the game with a 5-3 lead. The lead was quickly erased to start the seventh when LaTroy Hawkins gave up a two-run homer to Kevin Youkilis, giving Santana a no-decision in a game the Angels won in 10 innings, but Scioscia liked what he saw in the first six frames.
"We need that and we need more of that," he said. "It's going to be tough for us just to have the front of our rotation get it done. We need to have a chance to win every night we go out there, and that's a really good hitting lineup. They really score a lot of runs and he did a really good job against them. It's a step forward."
Scioscia said he opted not to send Santana back out for the seventh mainly because he wanted him to leave the game feeling good and having a lead.
"We needed him to pitch as long as he could, but he hasn't been out that long in a while," Scioscia said. "It's been awhile since he's been out over 100 pitches and he had gotten us to a point in the game where we had LaTroy, [Kevin Jepsen] and [Ernesto Frieri] lined up, so we wanted to just get him out and hopefully hold the lead and unfortunately we didn't do it."