Ervin Santana had his parents in the stands for the first time all season, and he took the mound with confidence after a pep talk from an old teammate.
No wonder Santana dramatically turned around a rocky season with a performance that put his name next to Nolan Ryan in the Los Angeles Angels' record book.
Santana took a perfect game into the seventh inning before finishing with a one-hitter, and Mark Trumbo hit a two-run homer in the Angels' 2-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.
Santana (4-7) bounced back from several rough outings by retiring Arizona's first 20 hitters before Justin Upton's two-out single to center in the seventh.
The Dominican right-hander then retired the next five Diamondbacks before pinch-hitter Miguel Montero drew a four-pitch walk in the ninth. Santana finished up his first complete game of the season with two fly balls, getting a standing ovation and praise from his teammates.
''That was very good - very, very good,'' Santana said. ''When you pass the sixth and nothing is happening, you have to think about it a little bit, but you just have to re-focus and keep pitching, and that's what I did.''
And how: After Upton's hit, Santana completed his seventh career shutout and 14th complete game with just one more baserunner. With the 18th individual one-hitter in club history, Santana joined Ryan as the only pitchers to throw a no-hitter and a one-hitter for the Angels.
''It just felt like no matter what (fingers) I put down, they weren't going to hit it,'' said John Hester, the Angels' backup catcher. ''It was hard not to think about (a perfect game), because you could tell he was throwing something special tonight.''