Santana throttles Twins

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 3, 2011 - 8:34 AM

The Angels' Ervin Santana, coming off a no-hitter in his last start, threw a complete-game eight-hitter vs. the Twins.

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ANAHEIM, CALIF. - Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano spent Monday's off day with his good friend, Angels pitcher Ervin Santana.

The two natives of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, both have made history this season. Liriano, 27, tossed a no-hitter against the White Sox on May 3, and Santana, 28, tossed a no-hitter in Cleveland last Wednesday.

Liriano said this wasn't even discussed Monday.

"We didn't talk about baseball," Liriano said. "We were just hanging out."

Santana also knew he'd be facing the Twins on Tuesday night, so he wasn't giving away any secrets. The righthander allowed eight hits this time, but none with runners in scoring position in a 5-1 victory at Angel Stadium.

Santana (7-8) became the first pitcher to throw a complete game in his first start after a no-hitter since Tommy Greene did it for Philadelphia in 1991.

With their third consecutive loss, the Twins fell eight games behind first-place Detroit, their biggest deficit since July 6.

"A tough night offensively," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We faced a pretty good pitcher. We know what he did the last time out. He was pretty good again."

Though neither pitcher was a threat to match Johnny Vander Meer's back-to-back no-hitter feat from 1938, Santana fared much better in his encore than Liriano did. On May 10, in his first start after the no-hitter, Liriano lasted only three innings in a 10-2 loss to the Tigers, leaving because he felt ill.

Santana continued his recent roll. In his past seven starts, he is 4-0 with a 1.65 ERA. He is having the kind of stretch the Twins wish they could see from Liriano.

"I've known him since we were like 14 years old," Liriano said. "So seeing him throw a no-hitter, I'm very happy for him."

The Angels gave Santana a 1-0 lead in the third inning, but the Twins tied it in the fourth on Jim Thome's RBI grounder.

To that point, Twins starter Brian Duensing (8-9) had been pretty stingy, but Vernon Wells led off the fourth inning with a walk, and Howie Kendrick flared an opposite-field double just inside the foul line.

Then, with an 0-2 count, Duensing threw a high fastball to Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo, who smashed it an estimated 450 feet over the center-field wall.

It was Trumbo's 20th homer of the season and the longest anyone has hit at Angel Stadium this year.

"To be honest, I looked at the video and I threw it exactly where I wanted to throw it, but I guess it was the wrong pitch," Duensing said. "I don't know if he knew if it was coming or what. He sure acted like it. ... He hit it a long ways."

The next inning, Torii Hunter connected for his 14th homer. Those runs were more than enough for Liriano's friend.

"I wasn't tired in the ninth inning," Santana said. "I was throwing gas."


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