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Santana Is Winner of Cy Young Award

From Associated Press

Johan Santana of the Minnesota Twins was a unanimous choice for the American League Cy Young Award on Thursday, rewarded for a stellar second half that helped his team win its third straight division title.

Santana went 20-6 and led the AL with a 2.61 earned-run average and 265 strikeouts, going 13-0 with a 1.21 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break.

He received all 28 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Assn. of America, becoming the first unanimous Cy Young winner since Arizona’s Randy Johnson two years ago and the first in the AL since Boston’s Pedro Martinez in 2000. He is the 18th unanimous winner overall, the seventh in the AL.

“I’m surprised this has been a unanimous decision,” Santana said from Caracas, Venezuela. “I thought this was going to be a real tough race.”

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Curt Schilling, 21-6 with a 3.26 ERA in his first season with the Red Sox, received 27 second-place votes and one third for 82 points.

Voting was conducted before the start of the postseason, when Schilling beat the Yankees in Game 6 of the AL championship series and St. Louis in Game 2 of the World Series despite pitching with a dislocated ankle tendon held together by sutures. Boston went on to sweep St. Louis to win the World Series for the first time since 1918.

“It was amazing,” Santana said of Schilling’s effort. “To me, he was just a hero. He did great things for Boston and for baseball. That’s a role model for a young baseball player to follow.”

Schilling, who led the major leagues in wins, has never won a Cy Young Award. He was runner-up for the third time, tying Johnson, a five-time winner, and 1957 winner Warren Spahn for the most second-place finishes.

Santana became the first Venezuelan to win the award, and fans in Caracas honked car horns when they heard the news.

“It’s on national TV,” he said. “Hopefully, in a couple of hours I’ll be addressing the country and letting them know how I feel.”

Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, who led the major leagues with a career-high 53 saves, received the other second-place vote and 24 thirds for 27 points.

Francisco Rodriguez of the Angels, Pedro Martinez of the Red Sox and Joe Nathan of the Twins tied for fourth with one point each.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates brought back their two top relievers, agreeing with closer Jose Mesa on a $2.5-million, one-year contract and with set-up man Salomon Torres on a two-year deal that avoided salary arbitration.

Mesa, who converted 43 of 48 saves chances last season, will make $2 million next year, with Pittsburgh getting a $4-million option for 2006 that includes a $500,000 buyout.

Torres was 7-7 with a 2.64 ERA in a team-high 84 appearances last season -- the most by a Pirate reliever since Kent Tekulve pitched in 85 games in 1982.

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Third baseman Chris Truby agreed to a one-year contract with the Kansas City Royals.... Left-hander Jeriome Robertson, right-hander Josh Hall and outfielder Kenny Kelly agreed to minor league contracts with the Cincinnati Reds.

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AL CY YOUNG AWARD VOTING D10

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