Minnesota at Seattle

W: J. Santana (1-0) L: M. Thornton (0-1)
HR: MIN - J. Jones (1)   SEA - None

Twins' Santana struggles, but Mariners let him off the hook

SportsLine.com wire reports

SEATTLE -- Johan Santana rarely needs his teammates to bail him out. There's no question, though, the Minnesota Twins can do it.

Jacque Jones hit a two-run home run and the Twins survived an ugly start by Santana, last season's Cy Young winner, to beat the Seattle Mariners 8-4 on Tuesday night.

"He's human, huh?" Jones asked. "Hey, it's going to happen."

Not a problem for the Twins, who are targeting a fourth straight AL Central title.

Minnesota collected 14 hits on the night, batting around and scoring seven runs in the fifth inning. Minnesota used seven singles -- four off Mariners starter Gil Meche -- and Jones' shot into the right-field stands for a 7-4 lead.

It made a winner of Santana, who won 20 games and led the AL with a 2.61 ERA last season but didn't look himself right away. He was leaving the ball up early, and Seattle's aggressive hitters took advantage for an early 4-0 lead.

"I have a lot of confidence in my teammates and what they can do," Santana said. "I just tried to hang in there and give the team a chance to win. That's how you do it."

He fell behind quickly, after Adrian Beltre's two-run double, Richie Sexson's RBI double and a one-out RBI single by Raul Ibanez. Santana threw 29 pitches in the first and got only one out through the first five batters.

"It's just a matter of establishing your pitches," Santana said. "I didn't have that much time to do it because they were swinging early. Second inning on, I started working everything, breaking balls got going."

Sure enough, he returned to his old form by retiring 14 of the next 15 batters, with only Beltre getting a single in the third. Santana worked five innings, allowing four runs on five hits with six strikeouts and one walk.

He won his 14th straight, a club record streak dating to July 17.

"I was just trying to get out of the first inning. It's always the toughest inning of the game," Santana said. "We stayed with it. We never quit. We played the game the right way."

Santana had gone 22 straight starts allowing three runs or fewer, the second longest stretch in history behind Dwight Gooden's 24 in 1985. He hadn't allowed more than three runs since a 5-2 loss last June 3 at the Metrodome against Tampa Bay.

Just when Santana got it turned around, so did the Minnesota hitters.

The Twins, who lost the opener 5-1 on Monday, had only seven hits through the first 13 innings this season, then struck for eight hits to generate seven runs in the fifth.

Up to that point, Meche had done quite well. He had a two-hitter through four innings, but then allowed singles to Lew Ford, Michael Cuddyer and Luis Rivas to start the fifth. That loaded the bases with no outs for the top of Minnesota's order.

Shannon Stewart hit into a force at second but beat the throw at first, scoring Ford to pull the Twins to 4-1. Jason Bartlett's RBI single made it 4-2, and Meche was pulled for lefty Matt Thornton.

"Everything kind of came apart," Meche said. "A couple of ground balls found holes. I left a couple balls up for them to get. The pitch count got up there and the skipper thought that was enough."

Joe Mauer then started a perfectly executed hit-and-run, scoring Stewart on an RBI single that darted into left field when shortstop Wilson Valdez moved to cover second base.

And if the Twins needed proof everything suddenly was going just right, Justin Morneau tied it at four on a check-swing blooper that soared into left field. Jones came up next, driving an 0-1 pitch off Thornton over the wall in right.

"It doesn't matter how it gets done, as long as it gets done," said Jones, who added an RBI single in the seventh to make it 8-4. "We're a team that can put together hits and run the bases. We did that."

Meche lasted 4 1/3 innings and gave up four runs on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks.


  • Every Minnesota hitter had at least one single.
  • An MRI exam on Seattle SS Pokey Reese, on the 15-day DL, confirmed a strained right shoulder.
  • Twins RHP Jesse Crain was pulled immediately after hitting Mariners 2B Bret Boone in the wrist with a pitch. He logged only one out in the sixth.
  • INF Ricky Gutierrez was released by the Mariners.
  • Seattle RHP Ryan Franklin, a starter the past two seasons, worked the eighth in relief for the first time since Aug. 27, 2002.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Jacque Jones caps Minnesota's seven-run fifth inning with a two-run home run. (AP)
Jacque Jones caps Minnesota's seven-run fifth inning with a two-run home run. (AP)

Players of the Game

J. Jones
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

A. Beltre
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0

Related Video

Minnesota Twins
Shannon Stewart, LF5111001 .222
Jason Bartlett, SS5121021 .333
Joe Mauer, C4111132 .250
Justin Morneau, 1B5131011 .333
Torii Hunter, CF4111101 .125
Jacque Jones, RF4123001 .429
Lew Ford, DH4110001 .125
Michael Cuddyer, 3B4110020 .143
Luis Rivas, 2B4020000 .429
HR - Jacque Jones (1, Thornton)
RBI - Shannon Stewart (1), Jason Bartlett (2), Joe Mauer (1), Justin Morneau (1), Torii Hunter (1), Jacque Jones 3 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Jacque Jones 3 (3)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Morneau-Bartlett
E - Michael Cuddyer (1, Wild throw)
Minnesota Twins
Johan Santana (W,1-0) 5544160 7.20
Jesse Crain (H,1) 0.1000000 0.00
J.C. Romero (H,1) 1.2100010 0.00
Juan Rincon 1000110 0.00
Joe Nathan 1100020 0.00
HBP - Boone (by Jesse Crain)
Pitches-Strikes - Johan Santana 94-59, Jesse Crain 7-3, J.C. Romero 21-14, Juan Rincon 14-7, Joe Nathan 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johan Santana 8-1, J.C. Romero 3-1, Juan Rincon 1-0
Batters Faced - Johan Santana 21, Jesse Crain 2, J.C. Romero 6, Juan Rincon 3, Joe Nathan 4
Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, RF4120000 .500
Jeremy Reed, CF3100111 .000
Adrian Beltre, 3B4122010 .429
Richie Sexson, 1B3111111 .500
Bret Boone, 2B3000013 .000
Raul Ibanez, LF4011032 .143
Randy Winn, DH4000002 .000
Miguel Olivo, C3000011 .000
   a- Greg Dobbs, PH10100001.000
Wilson Valdez, SS3000010 .000
   b- Scott Spiezio, PH1000011 .000
a-doubled for Olivo in the 9th
b-struck out for Valdez in the 9th
2B - Adrian Beltre (1, Santana), Richie Sexson (1, Santana), Greg Dobbs (1, Nathan)
RBI - Adrian Beltre 2 (2), Richie Sexson (6), Raul Ibanez (1)
SB - Ichiro Suzuki (1, 3rd base off Romero/Mauer), Raul Ibanez (1, 2nd base off Santana/Mauer)
Team LOB - 5
Outfield Assists - Jeremy Reed 1
DP - Meche-Valdez-Sexson
Seattle Mariners
Gil Meche 4.1644240 8.31
Matt Thornton (L,0-1) 0.1433001 81.00
Shigetoshi Hasegawa 2.1311020 3.86
Ryan Franklin 1000000 0.00
J.J. Putz 1100020 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Gil Meche 82-49, Matt Thornton 15-9, Shigetoshi Hasegawa 35-21, Ryan Franklin 6-5, J.J. Putz 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gil Meche 5-3, Shigetoshi Hasegawa 4-1, Ryan Franklin 2-1, J.J. Putz 1-0
Batters Faced - Gil Meche 20, Matt Thornton 4, Shigetoshi Hasegawa 10, Ryan Franklin 3, J.J. Putz 4
Game Information
Attendance - 28373
Game Time - 3:01
Temperature - 51
Umpires - Home - Mike Winters, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Third Base - Bruce Froemming