Twins ace Johan Santana struck out a franchise-record 17 batters to lead Minnesota past the Rangers 1-0 yesterday. Santana, who was perfect for the first half of his eight-inning outing, got all the offense he needed with a solo shot from teammate Michael Cuddyer. The game was otherwise momentous for the Twins, who climbed to 8 back in the American League Wildcard race.
With 20 apiece, only Roger Clemens and Kerry Woods have fanned more in nine innings, and Santana's 17 is the best K-count in Major League Baseball since Ben Sheets posted 18 in 2004. On a night when Minnesota honored its 1987 championship team, Santana, 28, was realistic about his struggling squad this year. "We still have a long way to go," he said.