CHICAGO (AP) – Johan Santana took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Wednesday night, and the Minnesota Twins completed a three-game sweep of the first-place Chicago White Sox with a 5-1 victory.

Santana (12-6) gave up six hits with one walk, and struck out 10 in 8 1-3 innings. He lost his no-hit bid when Carl Everett hit a bloop single to open the seventh, and Paul Konerko ended his shutout by led off the ninth with his 31st homer.

Matthew LeCroy homered twice for the Twins, who have won six of their last seven, including a 9-4 win in 16 innings Tuesday night. The White Sox lost their season-high five straight and continued their struggles at U.S. Cellular Field where they are just 6-13 in their last 19 home games.

Santana had retired 16 straight before Everett’s hit. After Konerko struck out, Aaron Rowand got another soft single to right in the same spot but Santana fanned Jermaine Dye – his final strikeout of the night- and retired Juan Uribe on a popout. Chris Widger and Tadahito Iguchi had singles for Chicago in the eighth, and Rowand followed Konerko’s homer with a double.

Mixing a blistering fastball in the mid 90s with off-speed pitches, Santana set the White Sox down in order in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

He hit leadoff hitter Pablo Ozuna with a pitch and walked Konerko in the first but struck out Rowand on a 3-2 pitch, ending an inning in which he threw 26 pitches.

The closest the White Sox got to a hit in the first six innings came in the fourth when Everett drove a pitch to the left field fence that Brent Abernathy caught.

Santana’s teammates made it easier for him by jumping out to a 5-0 lead against White Sox ace lefty Mark Buehrle (13-6) as LeCroy hit solo homers in his first two at-bats.

Santana, 20-6 last season to help the Twins win their division for a third straight year, was coming off a three-hit shutout of Oakland five days ago, matching his career-best low-hit game.

LeCroy homered to left center in the second and to right in the fourth off Buehrle, giving him 12 for the season. He popped out and walked in his next two at-bats.

The Twins added three more in the fifth, thanks to some White Sox miscues.

After two singles and a sacrifice put runners at first and third, Buehrle was called for a balk when he tried to pick Lew Ford off first, allowing Mike Redmond to score from third and make it 3-0.

Ford took second on the call, stole third and scored on Nick Punto’s sacrifice fly. Abernathy followed with a double and scored for a 5-0 lead when Konerko booted Justin Morneau’s grounder for an error.

Buehrle, 13-9 in his career against the Twins, his most wins against any opponent, also lost to Santana on April 10 at the Metrodome.

Buehrle gave up eight hits and five runs – four earned – with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Notes: It was LeCroy’s fourth career multi-homer game. His last came on May 10, 2003, against the Red Sox. … Buehrle has picked off 37 runners in his career, including five this season and AL-high 10 a year ago. It was his first balk since 2002 and seventh of his career.

AP-ES-08-17-05 2241EDT

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