Twins 4, Cleveland 1

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 16, 2006 - 12:06 AM

Johan Santana mastered a pesky blister and the Indians, pitching eight scoreless innings for his 14th victory.

Johan Santana has a blister on his left middle finger that quietly pestered him through a spate of un-Johan-like performances in late July and early August.

He was never awful, of course, but he didn't have his usual second-half brilliance.

Then came Tuesday night, when the Twins were desperate for the Old Johan and there he was, overcoming that blister problem to carry them to a 4-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians before an announced 34,854 fans at the Metrodome.

"As I told him, that's one of the better games I've seen him pitch," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, as his team moved two games behind Chicago in the American League wild card race.

Cleveland had won six consecutive games, averaging 7.7 runs, but Santana (14-5) held them to three hits over eight shutout innings.

There was no margin for error because Jake Westbrook (9-8) held the Twins to one run until the eighth, when Minnesota broke the game open with three runs.

Joe Mauer had a two-out, run-scoring single in the third inning, and the first two runs in the eighth scored on a two-out single by Michael Cuddyer.

"Trust me, we were happy to get to [Westbrook] because he was nasty," said Twins center fielder Torii Hunter, who added a run-scoring single in the eighth.

With a 4-0 lead, and Santana at 99 pitches, Gardenhire turned to closer Joe Nathan for the ninth.

The Twins haven't had a complete game shutout all season, but this wasn't a case of Gardenhire being overly cautious.

Santana had asked the manager to get the bullpen ready during the eighth inning.

The problem wasn't his golden left arm. It was a blood-dried spot on his fingertip.

"I've been dealing with a blister and a split nail for at least three weeks now," Santana said.

That was a revelation, actually, since Santana had said nothing publicly.

It helped explain Santana's 4.60 ERA over his five previous starts. Again, not terrible. But Santana set the bar awfully high during the past three years, going 30-3 with a 1.90 ERA after the All-Star break.

This time, Santana benefitted from an extra day's rest between starts. Monday's open date gave the blister more time to heal, and it wasn't until the late innings that it started wreaking havoc with his slider again.

Of course, it's tough to know, since Santana notched two strikeouts in his last inning, giving him nine for the night and a major league-best 187 for the season.

Santana has pitched through occasional back spasms and leg cramps, but he said those problems have subsided. The blister, however, could linger until season's end.

"It's going to stay there for a while," he said, staring at the finger. "But the good thing is my nail is growing back, so it's not like before, when I was missing a quarter of my nail. So now it's OK."

And if it stays OK, by his standards, he better make room in his trophy case for a second Cy Young Award.

  • Up next: 7:10 p.m. today vs. Cleveland • Metrodome • FSN

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Chicago WSox «3022011009170
Minnesota010002101592
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W:J.Danks(9-6) L:K.Correia(5-13)
HR: CWS- T.Flowers (6), A.Ramirez (9), J.Abreu (30) MIN- J.Willingham (10), O.Arcia (7)

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St. Louis - LP: K. Siegrist 6 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 7
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 4 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: H. Kuroda 6
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 5 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 9
Washington - WP: T. Roark 4 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 1
Boston - LP: J. Tazawa 4 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Price 6
San Diego - WP: J. Hahn 5 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Wood 2
Oakland - LP: J. Hammel 1 FINAL
Texas - WP: J. Williams 4
NY Mets - WP: C. Torres 3 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: F. Rodriguez 2
Miami - WP: B. Hand 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: D. Keuchel 0
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Danks 9 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: K. Correia 5
Cleveland - LP: C. Carrasco 4 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: K. Herrera 6
Pittsburgh - LP: C. Morton 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: B. Anderson 8
Detroit - LP: D. Smyly 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: M. Morin 2
Baltimore - WP: D. O`Day 2 FINAL
Seattle - LP: C. Furbush 1
Los Angeles - WP: Z. Greinke 8 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: T. Lincecum 1
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Calgary 26 FINAL
Edmonton 22
Winnipeg 23 FINAL
Brt Columbia 6
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Tulsa 77 FINAL
Washington 82
Chicago 79 FINAL
Atlanta 75
San Antonio 78 FINAL
Minnesota 88
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