Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Ervin strolls into break after complete effort

Santana logs MLB-best fourth CG in tough loss to Angels
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- When Ervin Santana is on, he's really on and is as tough as any pitcher in the Majors.

That was again the case on Wednesday night, as Santana recorded his Major League-leading fourth complete game, but it wasn't enough in a 2-1 loss to the Angels at Target Field. Santana has more complete games than any team in the Majors this season and twice as many as any pitcher.

View Full Game Coverage

MINNEAPOLIS -- When Ervin Santana is on, he's really on and is as tough as any pitcher in the Majors.

That was again the case on Wednesday night, as Santana recorded his Major League-leading fourth complete game, but it wasn't enough in a 2-1 loss to the Angels at Target Field. Santana has more complete games than any team in the Majors this season and twice as many as any pitcher.

View Full Game Coverage

Santana is also tied with Clayton Kershaw for the MLB lead with 11 starts of giving up one run or none, and while he fell short of that mark, the 2017 American League All-Star was excellent yet again, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks with five strikeouts to fall to 10-6 with a 2.99 ERA.

Get to know your 2017 All-Stars

"Those are the toughest games for a manager," Twins skipper Paul Molitor said. "You get an effort like that, and then it's hard to squander those away because they're hard to come by."

Video: LAA@MIN: Molitor on a tough 2-1 loss to the Angels

Santana, who also leads the Majors with three shutouts, was unaware he led baseball in complete games but pumped his fist when told, before saying it's not his focus.

"I don't think about it," Santana said. "I just think about every pitch and every at-bat. But I try to throw less pitches every time, and that's the key."

Santana was hurt by a solo homer from Kole Calhoun in the first, but settled down before running into a jam with runners at first and third with two outs in the sixth. Calhoun took off for second, forcing a throw from catcher Jason Castro. Brian Dozier broke in to receive it, but his throw home was too late to catch the speedy Cameron Maybin, and it proved to be pivotal in the loss.

"We didn't execute well enough on the first-and-third," Molitor said. "We didn't lose it on that because we had other opportunities, but it was a one-run game. So that was a big point."

Santana went back out for the ninth with 98 pitches after meeting with Molitor before the inning. They agreed that Santana would come out if a runner reached, and after Andrelton Simmons' infield hit with two outs, Molitor went to the mound. Santana thought he was going to be taken out of the game, but Molitor kept him in after a brief chat, and Santana got Cliff Pennington to ground out on his 117th pitch of the night.

"I think he was ready to give me the ball," Molitor said. "But I told him his stuff still looked great and if he wanted to go after this guy and get off the field, we'd give him a couple. And so he said he got him, and he did."

Tweet from @Twins: Fourth time this year going the distance. 117 pitches, 80 strikes. �������� #MNTwins pic.twitter.com/xWVywapwiz

It allowed Santana to finish his strong first half on a high note, and his next outing is likely to be in Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard in Miami. Boston's Chris Sale and Kansas City's Jason Vargas are front-runners to start that game, but Santana said he'd love to do it if asked.

"Of course," Santana said with a smile. "Who wouldn't want to?"

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Minnesota Twins, Ervin Santana