"The ball happened to find my bat and find a hole," Delmon Young said.
Santana became the first 17-game winner in the major leagues Tuesday night, allowing two hits over eight scoreless innings as Minnesota beat Tampa Bay 8-0 - the Twins' 14th win in a row over Tampa Bay.
"Games start with your pitching and he was really getting after it pretty good tonight," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He had great stuff, and I think you saw that according to some of the swings."
Santana (17-5) struck out 12 and walked one. The left-hander, 8-0 since the All-Star break, retired his first 10 hitters before a double with one out in the fourth by Young. Santana then got eight straight outs before Young singled to lead off the seventh.
The only other batter to reach was B.J. Upton, who drew a two-out walk in the eighth.
"He had everything working tonight," Young said. "You can tell by the swings we were taking. He's one of the best pitchers in the game because he's attacking the strike zone. He's got two great off-speed pitches."
Santana recorded 10 or more strikeouts in eight games this season and 31 times in his career. The Twins decided to pull Santana because of some minor left hip stiffness.
"In all those long innings (when the Twins scored), it's not easy to stay loose," Santana said. "I get everything going, I feel fine, but between innings it was there. I wanted to (finish the game), but at the same time we still have some games to go and I have to pitch on Sunday."
The Devil Rays last win against Minnesota came June 3, 2004, when they beat Santana.
"He was very impressive today," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "I've seen him good, but that's almost as good as I've seen him."
Minnesota took a 1½ game lead in the AL wild-card race over the Chicago White Sox, who lost 1-0 to Boston on Tuesday night. The Red Sox remained six games behind.
The Twins also crept within four games of AL Central-leading Detroit after the Tigers lost to Seattle, 4-3.
"We're trying to take care of our own business," Gardenhire said. "You scoreboard-watch after the fact, but we've just got to take care of our own business, we know that. If we keep winning baseball games and you've got a lead, they can't catch you."
Seo, reinstated from the 15-day disabled list before the game, gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings. He had been out since straining his left groin on Aug. 20.
Gardenhire was ejected for arguing that Cuddyer's hit was actually a homer. TV replays that the ball might have cleared the yellow line on the left-field fence before rebounding onto the playing field.
Garndehire has been tossed eight times this season.
Twins catcher Joe Mauer went 1-for-4, including a two-run double in the eighth, and had his average drop one point to .345. He has three hits in his last 26 at-bats.
|Johan Santana K's 12 Rays as he collects his 17th win, a major-league best. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
Minnesota Twins Royal Blue Badge Reel
$3.95 Shop Now!
|Luis Castillo, 2B||3||1||1||0||1||0||1||.296|
|Nick Punto, 3B||5||0||1||0||0||2||2||.296|
|Joe Mauer, C||4||1||1||2||1||0||3||.345|
|Michael Cuddyer, RF||4||2||2||1||1||0||2||.276|
|Justin Morneau, 1B||5||2||2||1||0||1||2||.318|
|Torii Hunter, CF||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.269|
|Josh Rabe, LF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.304|
|Rondell White, LF||3||1||1||0||1||0||1||.221|
|Lew Ford, LF-CF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.221|
|Jason Tyner, DH||4||0||1||1||0||0||1||.306|
|a- Alexi Casilla, PH-DH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jason Bartlett, SS||3||1||2||1||0||0||0||.342|
|a-grounded out for Tyner in the 9th|
|2B - Joe Mauer (30, Jackson), Michael Cuddyer 2 (36, Seo, Salas), Jason Tyner (4, Seo), Jason Bartlett (18, Seo)|
|3B - Justin Morneau (1, Salas)|
|SF - Jason Bartlett (4)|
|SH - Luis Castillo (9)|
|RBI - Joe Mauer 2 (75), Michael Cuddyer (92), Justin Morneau (115), Jason Tyner (12), Jason Bartlett (23)|
|2-OUT RBI - Joe Mauer 2 (34), Michael Cuddyer (47), Justin Morneau (48)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|Johan Santana (W,17-5)||8||2||0||0||1||12||0||2.84|
|WP - Johan Santana (3)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Johan Santana 95-70, Matt Guerrier 9-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johan Santana 7-5|
|Batters Faced - Johan Santana 27, Matt Guerrier 4|
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays|
|Rocco Baldelli, CF||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.300|
|a- Shawn Riggans, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||1.000|
|Delmon Young, RF||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.387|
|Carl Crawford, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.303|
|Ty Wigginton, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.264|
|Dioner Navarro, C||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.268|
|Jorge Cantu, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.241|
|Damon Hollins, DH||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.222|
|B.J. Upton, 3B||2||0||0||0||1||2||0||.240|
|Ben Zobrist, SS||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.231|
|a-singled for Baldelli in the 9th|
|2B - Delmon Young (3, Santana)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Seo-Zobrist-Wigginton|
|E - Carl Crawford (3, ), B.J. Upton (11, ), Delmon Young (1, )|
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays|
|Jae Seo (L,3-10)||6||8||3||1||1||2||0||4.96|
|IBB - R. White by Jae Seo|
|WP - Juan Salas (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jae Seo 94-65, Juan Salas 26-14, Edwin Jackson 27-15, Jon Switzer 10-5|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jae Seo 9-7, Juan Salas 2-1, Edwin Jackson 3-0, Jon Switzer 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Jae Seo 27, Juan Salas 7, Edwin Jackson 7, Jon Switzer 3|
|Attendance - 8256|
|Game Time - 2:34|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Laz Diaz, Second Base - Rick Reed, Third Base - Tim Tschida|