The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner wasn’t dominant Tuesday, but did manage to pitch the Twins to an 8-4 victory at Seattle. Santana threw 29 pitches in the first inning and got only one out through the first five batters before settling down to retire 14 of the next 15.
Santana worked five innings, allowing four runs and five hits with six strikeouts and one walk. The left-hander posted his 14th win in a row dating to July 17.
“I was just trying to get out of the first inning. It’s always the toughest inning of the game,” said Santana, who won 20 games and led the league with a 2.61 ERA last season.
Santana had allowed three runs or fewer in 22 straight starts before Tuesday — the second longest stretch in major league history behind Dwight Gooden’s 24-game run in 1985. Santana hadn’t allowed more than three runs since a 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay last June 3 at the Metrodome.
“He’s human, huh?” teammate Jacque Jones asked. “Hey, it’s going to happen.”
The three-time defending AL Central champions are on the verge of being swept after Saturday’s 8-5 loss.
Shannon Stewart hit a three-run homer and Torii Hunter added a solo shot for the Twins, who didn’t suffer their first sweep last season until June 29, when they dropped a three-game set to the White Sox.
Chicago already has the AL’s best record, thanks to its power and pitching.
The White Sox have scored 23 runs in five games, while their starters are 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA.