The Minnesota Twins have turned a close race in the AL Central into a blowout.
The Twins try for their fifth straight win as they continue their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at the Metrodome.
The Twins beat the Royals 2-0 on Friday, extending their lead in the Central to 9 1/2 games. Johan Santana, the AL pitcher of the month for July and August, pitched a no-hitter through the sixth and threw seven shutout innings for Minnesota.
“That showed me something,” center fielder Torii Hunter said. “He elevated his game. That was sweet. I thought we were in the playoffs.”
Hunter and Justin Morneau hit consecutive home runs in the sixth and Shannon Stewart went 3-for-4 for the Twins, who led their division by just one game over the Cleveland Indians on Aug. 15. However, they beat the Indians that day and have gone 13-4 to take command of the division race.
“I feel pretty good, but it’s not just about me,” Santana said. “We’re winning.”
The Twins, who have won the Central the past two seasons, are 29-18 since the All-Star break. They have outscored opponents 16-7 during their winning streak, including 2-0 wins in their last two games.
The Royals have lost 11 of their last 15 and are 28 1/2 games behind in the Central. Kansas City, which was in first place in the division as late as Aug. 30 last season, has gone 16-32 since the break.