MINNEAPOLIS – Their bats dormant and their pitchers bruised and beaten, the Minnesota Twins needed the best Johan Santana could give them.
Santana delivered, just like the No. 1 pitcher he is.
The left-hander was dominant and the Minnesota Twins’ offense produced more than three runs for a change in a 5-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.
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.
“I’m trying to show these guys we can do it,” Santana said. “We had a tough weekend in Detroit. Hopefully from now on we become more consistent in everything we do.”
Having been outscored 41-3 during their 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.
“He can give us a little injection by going in there and doing what he does best,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Santana.
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.
“It’s pretty crazy how you can be so good for most of the game and so bad for one inning of it,” Washburn said. “It was night and day.”
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.
“It’s kind of the yin and the yang of it,” Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said. “Their guy settled down and only gave up one, ours settled down, but gave up four in the process. They both threw a good ballgame.”