The Minnesota Twins are proof-positive that small market teams can compete with the high-salaried juggernauts.
The Twins can clinch their third straight AL Central division title with a win in the opener of their three-game series against the Chicago White Sox. Minnesota has won 10 of its last 12 games to pull out to a 12 1/2 game lead over second place Chicago.
Santana won his 11th straight start with another stellar performance, striking out a career high 14 in eight shutout innings for Minnesota in a 5-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.
Santana allowed seven hits and didn’t walk a batter, extending his scoreless inning streak to 30.
Minnesota is hoping Carlos Silva can help them clinch their third straight division title on Monday.
Silva is competing with Kyle Lohse for the third spot in Minnesota’s playoff rotation behind Santana and Radke. The 25-year-old righty has helped prove his case, going 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA over his last five starts to improve to 12-8 on the season.
In his last start, Silva pitched one-hit ball into the sixth inning Wednesday before leaving with a bruised right ankle, as the Twins beat the White Sox 6-1. He allowed just one hit and walked two through five innings.
Chicago has won two straight since ending its five-game losing streak.
Konerko hit a solo homer in the fourth—his 39th, second in the AL to Manny Ramirez’s 41.
“Hitting 40 home runs isn’t something I set out to do,” Konerko said. “It’s a nice number to be known as a power hitter, but my job is to drive guys in and be a tough out.”