Santana allowed only two runners - there was an error on the leadoff batter in the first inning and a walk in the eighth.
Santana (6-8) was in complete control while throwing the Angels' first complete-game no-hitter since Mike Witt pitched a perfect game on Sept. 30, 1984, against Texas. Mark Langston (7 innings) and Witt (2 innings) combined to hold Seattle hitless on April 11, 1990.
This was the third no-hitter in the major leagues this season, yet another sign that this, too, is another Year of the Pitcher. Minnesota's Francisco Liriano threw a gem against the Chicago White Sox on May 3 and Detroit ace Justin Verlander beat Toronto on May 7.
Santana said he began to think a no-hitter was within reach after he got through the eighth.
"Lots of guys get to five, six innings, but that's when things get a little complicated," Santana said.
He would know. Because in his last start, he took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning against Baltimore.
This also was the first no-hitter at Progressive Field, a ballpark that opened as Jacobs Field in 1994. The last pitcher to hold the Indians hitless was Jim Abbott of the New York Yankees on Sept. 4, 1993.
For Santana, it was a most unlikely performance. The 28-year-old righty came in 0-6 with a 4.98 ERA in 10 career starts against the Indians.
The closest Cleveland got to a hit came when rookie Jason Kipnis led off the sixth with a grounder past Santana. Second baseman Howie Kendrick made a diving, backhand stop, threw from his knees and first baseman Mark Trumbo scooped out the low throw for the out.
Santana threw 105 pitches, 76 for strikes. He had 0-2 counts nine times.
The crowd of 21,546, many on extended lunch hours for the noontime start, cheered loudly when Lonnie Chisenhall walked with one out in the eighth. Otherwise, the fans nervously sat in expectation of watching history.
Santana quickly took care of business in the bottom of the ninth. He got pinch-hitter Travis Buck to look at strike three, retired the speedy Ezequiel Carrera on a routine grounder and got Michael Brantley on an easy fly ball to center fielder Peter Bourjos.
The Angels rushed from the dugout to mob Santana behind the mound. Along with a game for the record books, it was an important win for Los Angeles as it chases Texas in the AL West.
The win was only his third in 11 starts since May 30. He lost four in a row, June 4-21, but is 3-0 in six starts since. Last Friday, he gave up one run and three hits over 7 2-3 innings in a 6-1 win over the Orioles.
Santana got off to an ominous start as Carrera reached when his grounder glanced off the heel of shortstop Erick Aybar's glove. Carrera stole second, went to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.
Chisenhall's walk was the lone blemish in the eighth as Santana struck out three in the inning.