Minnesota (69-54) at Texas (69-53)

Clear Currently: Arlington, TX
Temp: 63° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Mon Aug 23, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Johan Santana has outdueled off some of the best pitchers in baseball this month. He hopes to add another to the list Monday.

Santana looks to win his sixth straight start as the streaking Minnesota Twins face Kenny Rogers and the Texas Rangers in the opener of a four-game series at Ameriquest Field in Arlington.

Santana won his sixth straight decision Wednesday, allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings of a 7-2 victory over Mike Mussina and the New York Yankees. The 25-year-old left-hander, who took a shutout into the eighth inning, improved to 6-0 with a 1.82 ERA since the All-Star break and continued to pad his Cy Young resume.

“It’s up to the writers or whatever,” Santana said. “I’m just helping my team and having fun.”

Santana has not allowed more than three runs in an outing since June 9, and has yielded two or fewer in all but two of his last 14 starts.

He beat Tim Hudson and the Oakland Athletics on Aug. 7, and Pedro Martinez and the Boston Red Sox on Aug. 1. Santana also recorded a win against Freddy Garcia and the Chicago White Sox on July 27.

“If I was to have a year where I did all that, I’d be very happy at the end of the season,” teammate Shannon Stewart said.

Santana will have to remain sharp if he hopes to pull off a win over Rogers, who won his 15th game of the season Wednesday. The veteran left-hander allowed just two runs and eight hits in six innings of a 5-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

“He’s a great pitcher,” Santana said or Rogers. “He’s all about control. He can throw strikes and he can make a lot of plays. We have to make sure we stay aggressive with him.”

Rogers has won his last two starts and is 3-3 since an eight-decision winning streak. He is two wins shy of his career high of 17, set in 1995 for Texas. Rogers is having his best season since he won 16 for Oakland in 1998.

“I’m much more comfortable about what I’m doing,” he said. “Mechanically and physically I feel better, but I really am in my zone when I’m set to pitch.”

“I just want to keep winning and keep us in the race,” he added.

The Rangers lost 10-2 to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, ending their eight-game winning streak. Alfonso Soriano went 2-for-4 with a double for Texas.

“We got pickled today,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said.

The Twins completed a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians with Sunday’s 7-3 win. Corey Koskie homered and Torii Hunter had three hits, including a three-run double, for Minnesota, which has won six of seven.

The Twins increased their lead over the Indians in the AL Central from one game last Sunday to seven after the win.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Santana Tor vs. K. Rogers Det
20-6 Record 18-9
2.61 ERA 4.76
265 K 126
54 BB 66
0.92 WHIP 1.48