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Santiago finds success by pounding strike zone

Santiago finds success by pounding strike zone

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Santiago finds success by pounding strike zone

KANSAS CITY -- White Sox left-hander Hector Santiago trusted his stuff, filled the strike zone and wound up going a career-high eight innings against the Royals on Friday night. It was a blueprint that manager Robin Ventura would love to see on a consistent basis from Santiago, whose previous high was seven innings, which he reached twice.

"It just shows you that filling the strike zone works," Ventura said. "If you walk guys and are a little erratic, you put yourself in a bind."

Santiago allowed only three hits and one walk in a 9-1 Chicago victory. He threw just 106 pitches over eight innings, and Ventura said Santiago could have gone back out for the ninth if it had been necessary.

"When you don't have to exert as much by going to deep counts every single time ... it really helps," Ventura said. "Once you are that good at filling the strike zone, the other team isn't going to sit there and just take the first pitch. They have to be aggressive. He got some quick-pitch outs that helped him early in some innings. Instead of sitting there battling all the time and ending up at 3-2 [counts], you get a quick out and now you're on to the next guy."

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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