Twins 8, Indians 2
CLEVELAND (AP)—The Minnesota Twins sipped champagne for the second time this week, this time to honor their ace.
The Twins, who clinched the AL Central title Monday, toasted Johan Santana after he became the second 20-game winner in the major leagues with his 13th consecutive victory, an 8-2 win over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
“This is something special,” said Santana, who was presented with three baseballs by his teammates. “I got one for No. 20, one for No. 258 and another for No. 259.”
The last two were for tying and then setting a Minnesota record for strikeouts in a season. Santana (20-6) struck out six to put his AL-leading total at 260. Bert Blyleven set the previous Twins mark with 258 in 1973.
Santana’s 33-inning scoreless streak was snapped. He allowed a run—his first in September—and two hits in six innings.
“A string like his does not happen very often,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Hey, he gave up a run tonight. That’s a shocker.”
Santana is 13-0 with a 1.18 ERA in 14 starts since the All-Star break. He has won 12 starts in a row since allowing only one run in a no-decision July 22 against Tampa Bay.
“This kid has just been unbelievable,” Gardenhire said. “I don’t think you can have a better year than he has so we had a little toast to him.”
The 25-year-old left-hander, who entered this season with a 23-12 career record, tied Boston’s Curt Schilling for the major league lead in wins. Santana’s 13th straight win broke the team mark set by Scott Erickson in 1991 and matched by Brad Radke in 1997.
“I’m a little surprised at where I am, but not really surprised at winning,” Santana said. “I came into this season wanting to prove that I am a full-time starter, that I could do the job.”
Minnesota won for the first time in four games since clinching the AL Central title.
The Twins built a 6-0 lead by scoring five runs with two outs in the fourth off Kyle Denney. Henry Blanco, Shannon Stewart and Jacque Jones hit consecutive RBI singles, and Lew Ford followed with a two-run double.
Augie Ojeda’s aggressive baserunning helped the Twins take a 1-0 lead in the third.
Ojeda hit a leadoff single, then raced all the way from first to third on a groundout to third baseman Casey Blake, beating first baseman Josh Phelps’ throw back across the diamond. Ojeda scored on Ford’s two-out single to right.
Victor Martinez singled to left to open the Cleveland fourth and scored on a double to right-center field by Phelps.
“He’s a guy you don’t want to get to two strikes with,” Phelps said. “Then it’s just a guessing game because he can throw three pitches for strikes at any time.”
Denney (1-2) gave up eight hits and six runs over 3 2-3 innings in his third major league game. He walked two and struck out four.
Cristian Guzman had an RBI groundout in the seventh.
Jones hit his 24th homer in the eighth. Blake hit his 27th homer in the bottom half, a 403-foot shot to left with two outs.
Santana’s scoreless streak was three innings shy of the team mark set by reliever J.C. Romero earlier this year. … Santana is the 15th Twins pitcher to win 20 games and first since Radke in 1997. … Ford went 3-for-5, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. He is hitting .421 (16-for-38) against Cleveland this year.