Twins 7, Angels 1
“I think we’ve got a little more experience this year, and now we’ve got a taste of what it’s like to be in the playoffs,” Santana said. “Hopefully, this time we’ll go further than we did the last two years and can take care of some business.”
Santana (15-6) allowed one run and four hits in seven innings and struck out six, raising his league-leading total to 213. He is 8-0 with a 1.68 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break and has won 13 of his last 15 decisions.
Santana already has one more victory than any Twins pitcher last season and is trying to become the first Minnesota left-hander to win more than 15 games since John Smiley went 16-9 in 1992. He has allowed two runs or fewer in his last seven starts, lowering his ERA to 3.06.
“To be honest, I was just looking to stay healthy throughout the season. That’s all that was on my mind,” Santana said. “I knew that if I was healthy, a lot of things could happen because every time I go out there, I give my best. I want to end up the season strong, and whatever happens happens.”
Santana has about seven starts left and could become the first Twins left-hander to win 20 games since Frank Viola went 24-7 in 1988 and won the AL Cy Young Award.
“I’m not going to put things like that in my mind. I don’t think I’m that type of pitcher,” Santana said. “A lot of things have to go right in order for you to win games. It’s not just about throwing the ball good. You have to perform as a team.”
The Angels, who entered with the most hits and the highest team batting average in the major leagues (.289). They set a franchise record with a combined 30 runs in their previous two games and averaged 8.6 runs during their winning streak.
“Johan kept a very good hitting team off-balance and was in control out there,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He had all of his pitches working for him. It all starts with your starting pitcher, and he set a very good tone for us.”
Bartolo Colon (13-10) allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings. He originally was scheduled to pitch Sunday on an extra day’s rest but was moved back to give a blister on Kelvim Escobar’s middle finger an extra day to heal.
“I think any pitcher who pitches against Santana wants that challenge. You really have to bring your `A’ game,” Colon said through a translator.
The right-hander gave up hits to his first four batters in the third, and all of them scored. Shannon Stewart drove in the game’s first run with a single after a leadoff bloop double by Cristian Guzman and a bunt single by Ojeda. Jones made it 4-0 when he drove a 94-mph fastball into the right-field porch for his 22nd homer, his second in two days.
“I was not able to get the ball where I wanted against Jones,” Colon said. “I went inside against him, but I didn’t get the ball inside enough.”
Ojeda, who was born in Los Angeles, greeted reliever Matt Hensley with a leadoff homer in the ninth. It was his first home run since May 17, 2001, for the Chicago Cubs against Houston’s Scott Elarton.
“This is my fourth one, so I remember all of them,” said Ojeda, who also went deep against Pat Mahomes and the late Darryl Kile.
The Angels’ winning streak was two games shy of the franchise record, set in June 1964. The team’s longest winning streak last season was five. … Angels 2B Adam Kennedy, whose record-tying third home run in the 2002 AL championship series clincher came off Santana, was 0-for-9 against him in the regular season before singling his first two times up. … Twins 3B Corey Koskie, who injured his left ankle while tagging out Curtis Pride on Friday night, will miss at least 7-10 days because of a high ankle sprain. … X-rays on the right ankle of Angels OF Jeff DaVanon were normal but he isn’t expected to be able to play again for another 5-7 to seven days. … Bengie Molina, 7-for-12 against Santana, made only his second start of the season at DH. He was 0-for-2, dropping to 3-for-15 in his career as a DH. … Colon entered 5-0 at home against the Twins in his career. … The loss snapped the Angels’ streak of nine consecutive wins in games started by left-handers.