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Santana, Twins hold off Red Sox

May 6, 2007 - 3:32 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Johan Santana showed he's a better pitcher than most even when he's far from his best.

Santana only lasted five innings but his bullpen followed with scoreless frames as the Minnesota Twins held on for a 2-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

The reigning Cy Young Award winner, Santana (4-2) broke a personal two-game home losing streak as the Twins bounced back from a 2-0 loss in the series opener Friday night.

Closer Joe Nathan retired the final four batters for his eighth save of the season.

"It was all about the bullpen tonight, they did a great job," Santana said. "(The Red Sox) made me throw a lot of pitches, but its part of the game. You make some adjustments."

Until this year, Santana had been virtually unbeatable at the Metrodome, owning a streak of 24 consecutive starts at home in which he went 17-0 before absorbing a 4-2 defeat to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on April 13.

Santana also lost his last home start and was seeking to avert three straight defeats at the Metrodome for the first time in his career.

The 28-year-old lefthander struggled throughout against the Red Sox, a team which he has struggled against in his career, going 3-4 in eight starts. Santana loaded the bases in the first inning but escaped unscathed by retiring Mike Lowell on a groundout to third base.

It was a sign of things to come for Santana, who labored throughout his final four frames but managed to depart with a 2-1 lead.

Santana yielded one run and seven hits while striking out five and walking two. He threw 98 pitches in his shortest outing of the season before giving way to Matt Guerrier.

"His pitch count was high - those guys fouled a lot of pitches off," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But the bullpen did super and shut them down."

The Twins jumped on Boston starter Julian Tavarez (1-3) for two runs in the second inning, although it was not exactly an offensive outburst.

A single by Justin Morneau and walks to Jason Kubel and Jeff Cirillo loaded the bases with one out. Morneau scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Jason Tyner and Kubel came home on Jason Bartlett's infield single for a 2-0 lead.

Cirillo's at-bat was pivotal as he battled back from an 0-2 count to work a walk on 10 pitches. The Twins' designated hitter said he wasn't comfortable during the at-bat, but managed to fight off several of Tavarez's sinkers while avoiding an inning-ending double play before getting on base.

"It wasn't a pretty at-bat," Cirillo said. "Honestly, when you come back from an 0-2 count and you draw a walk, it's like you got a big hit. It's one of those at-bats that you just survive. I've had a lot of at-bats in my career where I just fight back and draw a walk. I was proud of myself that I kept fighting."

"He's a professional hitter," Gardenhire said. "He battled some tough pitches off. He had a great at-bat. That was probably the biggest at-bat of the night. That's what we brought him over here for."

Boston got one run back in the fourth. Wily Mo Pena singled with two outs and moved to third on two wild pitches by Santana. No. 9 hitter Dustin Pedroia followed with a ground-rule double to plate Pena and collect just his fourth RBI of the season.

The Red Sox threatened in the eighth as Jason Varitek and pinch hitter Eric Hinske drew two-out walks off Pat Neshek, prompting Gardenhire to bring in Nathan.

Alex Cora pinch hit for Pedroia but Nathan got him to fly to left field to balloon Boston's left on base total to 11. The Red Sox stranded 12 for the game.

Saturday's game marked the sixth time in 29 contests this season that Boston has scored one or less runs.

"We care about our record," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "We're coming up against some pretty good pitching. If that's the case, then our guys are doing a pretty good job too."

Nathan was forced to get through David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez in the ninth inning for the final two outs of the game following a blown save in his last outing. Ortiz flew out to center field and Ramirez struck out swinging.

"Facing those guys with a one-run lead is never easy," Nathan said. "I think it definitely raises the level of your game and gets you to a level that you probably can't get to with out that little adrenaline rush and push that only they can give you."

Tavarez went six innings, allowing two runs and four hits in his best outing of the season. He struck out a season-high seven and walked three.

Twins catcher Joe Mauer, the fourth-leading hitter in the American League at .353, was a late scratch after batting practice due to a sore left quadriceps muscle. Gardenhire said he expects Mauer to sit out Sunday's game as well.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    BOSTON 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 1
    MINNESOTA 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 x 2 4 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: BOS - JULIAN TAVAREZ, JOEL PINEIRO (7TH) AND JASON VARITEK
    MIN - JOHAN SANTANA, MATT GUERRIER (6TH), JESSE CRAIN
    (7TH), PAT NESHEK (8TH), JOE NATHAN (8TH) AND MIKE

    May 5 10:10 PM
  • 45
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    RUWTbot Added 35 roots

    Red Sox vs. TwinsMay 5 9:58 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND RULE DOUBLE BY DUSTIN PEDROIA SCORED WILY MO PENA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D PEDROIA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 1
    MINNESOTA 2 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J LUGO (.227, 0-FOR-2)

    Red Sox vs. TwinsMay 5 8:32 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JASON BARTLETT SCORED JASON KUBEL.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J BARTLETT ON FIRST, J TYNER ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 0
    MINNESOTA 2 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: L CASTILLO (.293, 0-FOR-1)

    Red Sox vs. TwinsMay 5 8:01 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY JASON TYNER SCORED JUSTIN MORNEAU.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J TYNER ON FIRST, J KUBEL ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 0
    MINNESOTA 1 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J BARTLETT (.262, 0 HR, 6 RBI)

    Red Sox vs. TwinsMay 5 8:00 PM
  • Topo Go Sox!

    Red Sox vs. TwinsMay 5 3:18 PM
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    Red Sox vs. TwinsMay 5 3:18 PM
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    Red Sox vs. TwinsMay 5 1:41 PM