Speigner outduels Santana as Nationals defeat TwinsJun 10, 2007 - 5:56 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Rookie Levale Speigner pitched his best game of the season, outdueling reigning Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana to lead the Washington Nationals to a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.
In just his fifth career start, Speigner held the Twins to one run on two hits in six innings to earn his second career win and first as a starter. Speigner (2-2) had allowed 23 runs on 30 hits over 14 1/3 innings in his first four starts.
But just as righthander Jason Simontacchi gave Washington his longest start this season in Friday's win, Speigner gave a career-long effort to give the Nationals their third consecutive series win on the road.
"I just wanted the kid to come out of that game on some sort of positive note," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "I thought it was going to get to him a little bit pitching against his old team and 40,000 people and Johan Santana, but he saved his best for tonight."
The Nationals will go for their second series sweep of the season Sunday.
Speigner, who pitched in the Twins organization until being taken by the Nationals in the 2006 Rule 5 draft, only allowed Justin Morneau's solo home run in the second inning.
"He came right back after the homer to Morneau and got the next out, that was a big part of the game," Zimmerman said. "He came right back at them and got out of that inning and just continued to roll."
Morneau's 17th blast gave the Twins a short-lived 1-0 lead.
Santana (6-6) allowed three runs - two earned - and seven hits in seven innings, but was hardly at his sharpest. The lefthander, who struck out five, gave up at least one hit in each of the first four innings and needed 41 pitches to get through the second frame.
"I was just trying to find the right pitch to get those guys out and they took advantage at the beginning of the game," Santana said. "I felt pretty good the whole game."
With the Nationals trailing, 1-0, in the third, Nook Logan reached base on an error by third baseman Nick Punto to lead off before Cristian Guzman singled two batters later to put runners on first and third. Zimmerman followed with his eighth homer into the left field seats to give Washington a 3-1 lead.
That was enough for Speigner, who retired 15 of the final 17 batters he faced. His dominance was highlighted by a four-pitch fourth inning in which he retired Michael Cuddyer, Morneau and Torii Hunter.
"It's just special getting the first one as a starter," Speigner said. "It felt so good to go out and put a couple zeros up. When I bounced back after the home run and got the next guy out, that felt good."
After Ray King and Jesus Colome combined to pitch a scoreless seventh, Jon Rauch retired the side in order in the eighth before Chad Cordero recorded his eighth save by inducing Jason Tyner to ground out with runners on the corners and two outs in the ninth.
Santana has lost two straight starts for the second time this season. After losing just seven games all of last season, Santana is clearly getting frustrated with his lack of support.
"It takes more than one guy," Santana said. "I'm really happy with everything I have done. I know what it takes for me to do my job. Hopefully my teammates feel the same way and find a way to improve and then do a better job out there."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire gave much of the credit to Speigner.
"We got outpitched tonight," Gardenhire said. "I didn't think that was possible. I thought Johan was great, but offensively we did nothing. It's pretty disappointing for everybody because when Johan pitches we always feel we should win."
Guzman followed up his four-hit night against his former team on Friday with a 3-for-4 effort on Saturday with a run scored.
Tyner and Lew Ford were the only hitters to reach base twice for Minnesota, which has lost for the sixth time in its last seven games.
Twins left fielder Jason Kubel left the game after the third inning with a right knee sprain. He suffered the injury when his spike caught while chasing Austin Kearns' ground-rule double in the second inning. He will be re-evaluated on Sunday, and if the knee is still sore he will have an MRI on Monday.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
WASHINGTON 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 8 0
MINNESOTA 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 1 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: WAS - LEVALE SPEIGNER, RAY KING (7TH), JESUS COLOME (7TH), JON RAUCH
(8TH), CHAD CORDERO (9TH) AND JESUS FLORES
MIN - JOHAN SANTANA, JUAN RINCON (8TH), CARMEN CALI
Jun 9 9:51 PM
AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY RYAN ZIMMERMAN (9) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT
IN THE 3RD OFF JOHAN SANTANA SCORED NOOK LOGAN AND CRISTIAN GUZMAN.
CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 3, MINNESOTA 1
DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: D YOUNG (.335, 0-FOR-1)
Nationals vs. TwinsJun 9 7:58 PM
AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
SOLO HOME RUN BY JUSTIN MORNEAU (17) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT
IN THE 2ND OFF LEVALE SPEIGNER.
CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0, MINNESOTA 1
DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: T HUNTER (.306, 13 HR, 48 RBI)
Nationals vs. TwinsJun 9 7:44 PM
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