ARLINGTON -- Pitching on short rest was no problem for Ervin Santana on a night the Angels' hitters went long and longer.
With Santana pitching on three days' rest for the first time in his career, the Angels brought out the heavy lumber on Saturday against C.J. Wilson, bombing four home runs against the Texas ace.
In Rangers Ballpark, there is no assurance that will get the job done. The Angels, fully aware of the dangers, didn't stop there, banging a fifth homer en route to an 8-4 decision that sliced Texas' American League West lead back to two games.
"He deals against us every time," Peter Bourjos said of Wilson. "It doesn't feel like he misses his spot very often. Tonight we finally got to him."
Bourjos, fellow outfielders Vernon Wells and Mike Trout and catcher Bobby Wilson took Wilson deep. Joining the long-ball party, Howard Kendrick unloaded in the seventh against Kohi Uehara.
"Five home runs, that's big-time for us," Santana said, beaming. "[Wilson] didn't have his best stuff, and we took our hacks."
Santana went seven innings, yielding four earned runs on four hits and a walk, striking out two. Hisanori Takahashi claimed his second save, defusing a Rangers rally in the ninth.
"He was the old Santana," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I didn't see anything different with him. It looked like for a minute there we were wearing him down a little bit, but he continued to maintain his velocity. He hit his spots, he had a good breaking ball.
"I didn't see anything different in him. We put four runs on him. We just couldn't stop them."
Pitching on three days' rest, Santana said, wasn't nearly as big an issue as laboring in smoldering heat.
"It feels hot -- really hot," he said. "I didn't even think about the rest. Everything was working. I threw some good changeups. They were a little too fast -- 88 to 91 [mph] -- but I got outs with the changeup. That really helps."
Santana departed after 95 deliveries, and Scott Downs worked a perfect eighth. When Jordan Walden faltered, loading the bases with one out in the ninth, Takahashi induced a double-play grounder from David Murphy to wrap it up.
"That was a matchup move," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of his decision to summon Takahashi against the left-handed swinger. "Murphy's a guy who, if you make a mistake, can tie the game. We went with Hisanori, and he threw a good fastball in a good zone after falling behind 2-0."
Santana moved to 10-9, while Wilson dropped to 13-6. Wilson had outdueled Santana 10 days earlier in Anaheim.
"The ultimate thing is, like you saw from Santana tonight, it doesn't really matter how much rest you get," Wilson said. "If you hit your spots, that's what you need to focus on. That's not a strength thing, that's a mechanics thing. I wasn't hitting my spots tonight."
Wilson entered the game having surrendered just 10 home runs in 181 innings -- and only two in his previous 15 starts.
Wells, a multi-sport high school star in Arlington, got things started for the Angels with his one-out homer to center in the second, his 18th of the season.
Going back in the files, Wells pulled out video from 2006 in Toronto to connect with the hitter he was and intends to be again. He made a few alterations in his setup, and the early returns -- 10 hits in his past 20 at-bats -- are highly encouraging.
"That's the kind of year I should be having," Wells said, referring to 2006. "Home runs will come, but I need to hit line drives, for average. I always said I wasn't a home-run hitter, that the home runs I hit were line drives that carried."
After Wells got it started, Torii Hunter's two-out, broken-bat RBI single made it 2-0 in the third. Bourjos had reached on a force after Maicer Izturis' second hit, stealing second and advancing on Mike Napoli's throwing error.
With two outs in the fourth, 20-year-old Trout unloaded his third homer to left-center. While the Angels were still celebrating in the dugout, Wilson lifted his first homer of the season deep into the left-field seats.
Retiring the first nine men he faced, Santana hit Ian Kinsler with a 1-2 pitch leading off the fourth and walked Elvis Andrus on four pitches. Michael Young's sacrifice fly cashed in Kinsler after Josh Hamilton's infield out, and Napoli slashed a single to center to score Andrus from third.
Leading off the fifth, Bourjos victimized Wilson for the fourth time. His homer to left was his ninth of the season and fifth in his past 16 games. Bourjos would narrowly miss another homer when Hamilton went to the wall in the eighth to flag down his drive and start a double play.
Following Bourjos' homer, Erick Aybar's two-out single drove home Kendrick, who'd singled.
The Rangers struck back with a two-run homer by Murphy, who'd mashed a grand slam in the series opener on Friday.
Kendrick greeted Uehara with his second blast to center field in as many nights. Hunter followed with a double, scoring on Wells' triple to the right-center gap.
The five solo home runs represented a franchise rarity. It had been done only once before, by the 1985 Angels. Reggie Jackson homered twice in the April 23 game against the A's.
The Angels will try to shave another game off Texas' lead behind ace Jered Weaver, who also goes on three days' rest for the first time when he faces Colby Lewis in Sunday night's series finale.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.