for this game

Santana brilliant as Twins top Athletics

Jul 14, 2007 - 4:06 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Since 2003, Johan Santana has dominated after the All-Star break. On Friday, he continued the trend.

Santana hurled seven scoreless innings and Luis Castillo drove in two runs to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 5-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.

Joe Mauer and Jeff Cirillo each knocked in a run for the Twins (47-43), who improved to four games above .500. Minnesota has not been five games over the break-even mark since April 21.

"Five games over isn't going to win the division or take us to the playoffs," Twins first baseman Justin Morneau said. "We need to win 94, 95, 96 games to make the playoffs, that's how it's going to be. It's a point we have to get past, but it's still not going to be good enough. We need to keep winning series and playing well."

With the win, Santana (11-6) improved to an astonishing 41-4 after the All-Star Game since 2003. In this one, he allowed just four hits while striking out eight and walking one.

"I don't try to do anything different," Santana said. "I feel much better now, my mechanics, all my pitches are coming out much better. It takes a little time to feel comfortable, but I feel comfortable right now."

Santana started the game strong, striking out four of the first five batters he faced. His only 1-2-3 innings were the fifth and seventh, but he did not allow any of the five baserunners to reach second.

The two-time American League Cy Young Award winner has earned the win in each of his last five starts, posting a 1.03 ERA during that stretch.

"I've felt pretty good before these five games," Santana said. "I was just unlucky. We weren't scoring any runs. But I never give up."

"Johan's been doing that for a long time, and he did it again," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Santana needed just seven pitches to get through the seventh inning, giving him 91 for the game. But after conferring with pitching coach Rick Anderson, he agreed it was in his best interest to come out rather than try for the shutout following his inning of work in Tuesday's All-Star Game.

But when asked if he considered using Santana in the eighth, Gardenhire got uncharacteristically upset and, after a brief lecture, kicked the gathered media out of his office.

"He threw in the All-Star Game," Gardenhire said. "I'm tired of hearing that (stuff). He's not going to get a shutout, he's not going to go nine innings there. He's already got 90-plus pitches, he pitched a couple days ago. That's all people want to talk about, is leaving him out there. We're talking about protecting a young man's arm.

"He's the best pitcher in the game, that's what we're going to do. I'm tired of it. The pitching coach went down there and talked to him, and they decided it was the best thing to do. That's what we do around here. We take care of our pitchers. That's why they last. That's what we're going to do with Johan."

Although he did not need it, Santana got plenty of help from the Twins' offense.

After loading the bases but failing to score in the first inning, Minnesota got to Oakland starter Lenny DiNardo in the third.

Castillo, who finished the contest with three hits and two RBI, doubled to lead off the frame and Jason Bartlett singled to put runners on the corners. Mauer followed with a groundout to score the game's first run.

In the fourth, Castillo again was involved, hitting a two-out single to score a pair of runs. After Torii Hunter singled to start the frame, Nick Punto hit a two-out grounder between third baseman Eric Chavez and Bobby Crosby that the shortstop backhanded but threw wildly, putting runners on second and third.

Castillo then safely dropped a 2-2 pitch into shallow right field, just past the outstretched glove of second baseman Mark Ellis.

"They did a good job of making me work," DiNardo said. "They fouled a lot of pitches off."

DiNardo (3-6) lost for the fourth time in five decisions, allowing three runs - two earned - and eight hits in five innings. But he stood little chance against Santana.

Bobby Kielty had a pair of singles and Dan Johnson reached base twice, but Jack Cust was the only other Oakland hitter to reach against Santana. Former Twin Shannon Stewart went 0-for-5, ending his 15-game hitting streak.

"Santana was tremendous," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "(But) we had a chance to win. I liked that we fought until the end."

The Twins added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth inning off reliever Kiko Calero, as Cirillo tripled home Jason Kubel and scored on a sacrifice fly by Punto.

Minnesota reliever Pat Neshek worked around a single and an error in the eighth inning and Joe Nathan tossed the ninth to notch his 17th save in 19 chances.

Bartlett and Michael Cuddyer each had two hits for the Twins.

Chavez blasted a two-run homer for the Athletics (44-46), who lost their fifth straight contest, fell to 3-8 in their last 11 road games and dropped to two games below .500 for the first time since April 14.






  • 5
    roots
    2buthy5 Added 5 roots

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 14 2:42 AM


  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 8 1
    MINNESOTA 0 0 1 2 0 2 0 0 x 5 10 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: OAK - LENNY DINARDO, KIKO CALERO (6TH), SANTIAGO CASILLA (7TH),
    COLBY LEWIS (8TH) AND JASON KENDALL
    MIN - JOHAN SANTANA, PAT NESHEK (8TH), JUAN RINCON
    (9TH), JOE N

    Jul 13 10:44 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JASON KENDALL SCORED BOBBY CROSBY.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, J KENDALL ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    MINNESOTA 5 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: S STEWART (.307, 0-FOR-4)

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 13 10:43 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY ERIC CHAVEZ (14) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 9TH OFF JUAN RINCON SCORED NICK SWISHER.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 2, MINNESOTA 5
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: D JOHNSON (.257, 1-FOR-2, BB)

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 13 10:31 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY NICK PUNTO SCORED JEFF CIRILLO.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0
    MINNESOTA 5 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: L CASTILLO (.308, 3-FOR-3, 2 RBI)

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 13 9:54 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY JEFF CIRILLO SCORED JASON KUBEL.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J CIRILLO ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0
    MINNESOTA 4 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: N PUNTO (.214, 1-FOR-2)

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 13 9:53 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY LUIS CASTILLO SCORED TORII HUNTER AND NICK PUNTO.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, L CASTILLO ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0
    MINNESOTA 3 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J BARTLETT (.259, 2-FOR-2)

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 13 9:23 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY JOE MAUER SCORED LUIS CASTILLO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J BARTLETT ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0
    MINNESOTA 1 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: M CUDDYER (.283, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Athletics vs. TwinsJul 13 9:01 PM