Santana dominates Mariners

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MINNEAPOLIS – Johan Santana was dominant and the Minnesota Twins’ offense produced more than three runs for a change in a 5-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

Santana allowed one run and six hits and struck out nine in seven innings to help the Twins snap a four-game losing streak that featured one lopsided loss after another.

Having been outscored 41-3 during that skid, and topping three runs just once in the previous 10 games, the Twins scraped together enough offense to back Santana (2-3) in this one.

They got six of their eight hits, and all four of their five runs, in the second inning off Jarrod Washburn (2-4), who was very good the rest of the way, but not good enough in his second straight start against one of the AL’s top hurlers.

Washburn settled down after the second inning, giving up four runs and seven hits in seven innings, one start after out-dueling Chicago’s Mark Buerhle in a 5-1 win.

The Mariners jumped all over Santana in the top of the first. Ichiro Suzuki led off with a standup triple to the gap in left-center, then scored on a single by Willie Bloomquist. Raul Ibanez’s single was the third straight hit for Seattle, which appeared on its way to a big inning.

But Santana froze Richie Sexson with a fastball on the inside corner for strike three, then struck out Carl Everett and Adrian Beltre.

After a 26-pitch first inning, Santana needed just six pitches to get through the second, striking out Kenji Johjima and getting Jose Lopez and Yunieski Betancourt to ground out to third.

Santana retired nine straight after Ibanez’s single – and 17 of the next 19 – and got all the run support he would need in the second.

The Twins opened the inning with five straight hits, including RBI-singles from Tony Batista and Nick Punto and an RBI-double from Rondell White, which snapped the DH’s 0-for-14 slump.

So it came as no surprise when many in the announced crowd of 14,513 stood and applauded after the “big” inning. And it’s a good thing they took that opportunity, because after that, it was more offensive ineptitude from the home team.

Washburn retired the next 16 hitters, keeping the Mariners within striking distance.

But Juan Rincon pitched a perfect eighth and Joe Nathan finished the Mariners off in the ninth.

Notes: Seattle RHP Sean Green made his major league debut in the eighth, giving up one run – which was charged to George Sherrill – in 2-3 inning. … Mariners 2B Jose Lopez went 0-for-3, snapping a 10-game hitting streak. … Ichiro’s triple was his first of the season. He had 12 last year. … The Mariners fell to 2-7 this season when facing left-handed starters. … The Twins’ six hits in the second inning were one off a season high. … Santana had Betancourt picked off first in the seventh, but 1B Justin Morneau bobbled the ball when he went to throw out Betancourt at second, giving him his third steal of the season.

AP-ES-05-02-06 2232EDT

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