Tue, Aug 21, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Santana scoops 17 strikeouts to break Minnesota record


Johan Santana finished with a franchise-record 17 strikeouts in eight innings to lead the Minnesota Twins past the Texas Rangers 1-0 in the American League on Sunday.

Santana's 17 strikeouts were the most in the majors since Ben Sheets fanned 18 in Milwaukee's 4-1 win over Atlanta on May 16, 2004, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He broke the Minnesota record of 15, accomplished four times -- the last by Bert Blyleven on Aug. 1, 1986, against Oakland.

Santana (13-9) retired the first 12 batters he faced before Sammy Sosa led off the fifth with a single to left-center. Sosa also doubled with two outs in the seventh for Texas' only other hit against the left-hander.

Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth for his 27th save in 29 chances.

Minnesota's 19 strikeouts for the game were also a team record. The previous mark was 18 set in a 4-3, 13-inning victory over Cleveland on June 2, 2005. Santana had 14 Ks in that win.

Michael Cuddyer hit a 425-foot home run off Kevin Millwood (8-10) in the second inning. That was Millwood's only mistake -- he allowed four hits and struck out three in seven innings for Texas.

Angels 3, Red Sox 1

At Boston, Joe Saunders took a shutout into the eighth inning and Los Angeles gained a split of the four-game series between the teams with Major League Baseball's best records.

In his 26th major league start, Saunders (7-1) scattered six hits and allowed just two runners to reach second base in seven-and-two-third innings. He struck out seven and was charged with one run.

Boston's lead in the AL East dropped to four games over the New York Yankees, who beat Detroit for the second straight day. The last time Boston held a smaller lead was on May 1 when the margin was 3.5 games.

Yankees 9, Tigers 3

At New York, Johnny Damon hit a tiebreaking homer and New York got lights-out relief pitching from a pair of rookies in a win over Detroit.

Wilson Betemit had four RBIs and Hideki Matsui drove in three early runs for the surging Yankees, who took the final three meetings in a key four-game series between AL playoff contenders.

With his 1,149th win as manager of the Yankees, Joe Torre tied Hall of Famer Casey Stengel for second place on the franchise list behind Joe McCarthy (1,460).

Wang Chien-ming (王建民) (14-6) gave up three runs and nine hits in six inconsistent innings. Joba Chamberlain and Edwar Ramirez combined for three perfect innings to finish it.

In other games, it was: Blue Jays 3, Orioles 2, 10 innings; Devil Rays 4, Indians 3, 12 innings; Athletics 6, Royals 1; Mariners 11, White Sox 5.

Mark Teixeira drove in four runs with two homers and John Smoltz became the Braves' strikeout leader as Atlanta beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-2 in the National League on Sunday.

Smoltz, 40, passed Phil Niekro as the Braves' franchise strikeout leader. He set a season high with 12 strikeouts while giving up five hits, three walks and two runs in eight innings. Smoltz (11-6) earned only his second win since June.

Yunel Escobar added a homer as the Braves scored six runs on seven hits -- each for extra bases -- in the first four innings.

Bob Wickman got Orlando Hudson to ground out with the bases loaded in the ninth to end it.

The Braves ended Arizona's four-game winning streak. The Diamondbacks won the first two games against the Braves and have won 10 of 11 series since the All-Star break.

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