Santana Flirts With No-Hitter As Twins Defeat Indians 3-2 - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Santana Flirts With No-Hitter As Twins Defeat Indians 3-2

CLEVELAND (AP) _ After Johan Santana took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning, the Minnesota Twins had to rally for a victory.

Brian Buscher hit a go-ahead groundout in the ninth inning, after Torii Hunter's leadoff double, and the Twins beat the Cleveland Indians 3-2 on Saturday night.

Hunter doubled off Joe Borowski (2-4) to start the inning and took third on Jason Kubel's groundout. Borowski hit Rondell White in the left side with a 3-2 pitch, and White was replaced by pinch runner Lew Ford, who broke for second on a 1-0 pitch to Buscher that was hit to second baseman Mike Rouse.

Rouse's high throw home went off catcher Victor Martinez's glove, but may have been too late anyway. Hunter slid in safely with the eventual winning run, the Twins' first victory in five games on their six-game road trip.

Pat Neshek (6-1) pitched a perfect eighth for the win and Joe Nathan worked the ninth for his 21st save in 23 tries as the Twins snapped a five-game losing streak.

Santana struck out 12 over seven innings and had a no-hitter with two outs in the sixth. He gave up a career-high four homers his last time out, a 6-4 loss at Toronto on Monday, and is 1-2 in four starts since the All-Star break after going 40-4 following the breaks in 2003-06.

Martinez opened the Indians' seventh with a single for Cleveland's second hit. Then Travis Hafner tied the score at 2 with a long homer to right that brought the sellout crowd of 41,203 to its feet.

Santana struck out nine in a span of 11 batters from the second through fifth inning. The left-hander allowed two runs and four hits, walking one.

Franklin Gutierrez tried to end the no-hit bid by bunting to open the sixth. Santana made a diving stop on the ball and threw to first baseman Justin Morneau, who dropped it for an error.

Two outs later, Grady Sizemore doubled into the right-field corner for Cleveland's first hit, sending Gutierrez to third. But Santana got Blake on a fly out to right to end the threat and preserve a 2-0 lead.

It was the 36th time that Santana struck out 10 or more in a game.

Jason Tyner hit his first career homer in 1,220 at-bats to put the Twins ahead 1-0 in a two-run third against Indians starter Jake Westbrook. Tyner's homerless streak was the longest by an active player.

During the Twins' rally, Martinez was stunned when hit in the face mask and left shoulder by the barrel of a broken bat. With Luis Castillo on first base after a walk, Jason Bartlett's bat shattered as he hit an infield single. Plate umpire Laz Diaz tried to keep the All-Star catcher from tumbling over and trainer Lonnie Soloff quickly ran out to attend to Cleveland's leading hitter, who remained in the game.

One out later, Justin Morneau singled home Castillo.

It was also a rough night for Twins third-base coach Scott Ullger, who watched the winning rally while sitting in the dugout, an icepack on his face after being hit by a line drive in the bottom of the eighth off the bat of Cleveland's Casey Blake while sitting beside manager Ron Gardenhire. He was replaced in the coaching box for the ninth by bench coach Steve Liddle.

The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but Morneau lined into a double play to end that threat.

Westbrook allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings, but remained winless in eight starts since beating Baltimore on April 27 for his only win in seven decisions this season.

Notes: Before the game, the Indians honored surviving members of the Bluffton University baseball team, which got a standing ovation when introduced. Seven were killed when the team's bus crashed March 2 in Atlanta. ... The Twins are 0-for-21 with one walk in the first inning of their last seven games. ... Santana pitched at least five innings for the 113th consecutive start, surpassing Hall of Famer Bob Gibson for the third-longest such streak in the last 50 years. Curt Schilling's 147-game streak ended in his first start for Boston this season. David Cone had a 145-game streak.
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