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Santana Homes In on the White Sox

From the Associated Press

Not even a painful blister on his pitching hand could derail Johan Santana. He has been unbeatable at the Metrodome.

Santana held the Chicago White Sox to one run in seven innings and Michael Cuddyer had two hits and two RBIs in Minnesota’s 7-3 victory Sunday, cutting Chicago’s lead to one game in the AL wild-card race.

Santana (15-5) hasn’t lost at the Metrodome in 20 starts, dating to Aug. 6, 2005. He is 13-0 with a 2.03 earned-run average during that stretch.

The Venezuelan lefty wasn’t his usual overpowering self on Sunday as he pitched with a blister and split nail on the middle finger of his left hand. He allowed six hits and struck out five, but got better as the game went on.

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“People say he didn’t have his best stuff because he didn’t have 13 strikeouts or whatever,” Twins catcher Mike Redmond said. “But he was just as effective getting ground balls and moving through the lineup.”

After allowing at least one runner to reach in each of the first five innings, he retired the last nine hitters he faced to help the Twins take two of three in the weekend series.

“Another typical day for Johan,” White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen said. “This guy knows how to pitch against us. Well, against most of the league. We tried to attack a different way, but we always come up empty.”

Santana is a major league-best 9-0 at home this year and hasn’t lost since the All-Star break.

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Tadahito Iguchi had two hits and an RBI to break out of a two-for-17 skid for the White Sox, who scored two runs in the eighth off Juan Rincon on a sacrifice fly from Jermaine Dye and a single by Joe Crede that made it 5-3.

But Torii Hunter hit a two-run homer off Neal Cotts in the bottom of the inning and Joe Nathan shut the door in the ninth.


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