I, of course, say that because Santana pitched another wonderful game. With tonight's two-hit, 10 K performance, he brought his ERA down to 3.07 and his major-league leading strikeout total to 205. Seems awfully reminiscent of last year, doesn't it? Except, of course, the wins. He should have a few besides this game and at least 17 or 18 by now (just as Radke and Silva should) but he remains at 13-6. Like Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens in the NL, he has been very dominant and amazing, but his team often lets him down. They did again tonight.
Santana didn't walk a man in his amazing game, but he made one mistake, giving up a solo homer to Cleveland's big bat, Travis Hafner. To the surprise of everyone, Santana had a lead when he left the game. The Twins managed two runs off of Cleveland starter Kevin Millwood (which is really good in terms of recent "hitting") and look poised for a win. When Joe Nathan came in to close the game, it looked like a sure thing. But Nathan finally gave up a run, breaking his scoreless streak he has had since the All-Star break. A Casey Blake double, Grady Sizemore sacrifice, and Coco Crisp sac fly created the run, sending the game into extras and taking a win from Johan
But Nathan got the win as the Indians made not one, but two errors in the bottom of the ninth. Juan Castro lead off with a bunt single and advanced to second on a Aaron Boone throwing error. Then Nick Punto bunted down the third base line and Castro scored as the pitcher Bob Howry threw the ball down the first base line, allowing the Twins to win.
It was the usual route to a win or a potential loss. The offense was there for hits, but as usual, didn't fair well in scoring situations. 12 hits, two earned runs. Its an improvement over 13 hits, no runs, but thats about it. Joe Mauer had two hits, bringing his average to a very good .305, while Castro and Punto had three hits a piece and Lew Ford had two. It was, for all purposes, enough for the win. Now all we need is another Carlos Silva start for the books.
* On a side note, it appears last night's game was so bad, Nelson didn't want to comment on it. I think thats fair. It was just beyond words once again. Lets hope tonight was a better indicator of things to come, although it wasnt the best either.