Johan Santana was incredibly dominant and the Twins got a much-needed big inning while Johan was still pitching.

Johan pitched 7 strong innings, giving up just 4 hits and a walk while surrendering 2 runs, although only 1 was earned. He struck out 7, and basically made Seattle’s hitters look very silly.

He was down 2-1, though, in the top of the 7th; crunch time for the Twins’ bats to wake up and give him some support. The inning started off simply enough with Jason Bartlett bunting down the third-base line and reaching because the 3B overran the ball (but touched it before it went into foul territory). Alexi Casilla, playing for Luis Castillo who has a “strained left quad muscle” (listed as day-to-day), followed with a bunt of his own, this time towards first base. It was a perfect bunt towards that side of the infield as it drew the 1B in and, well, Casilla sure can fly, so the pitcher trying to cover first was pointless. Nick Punto, back in action, sacrificed them over with his own bunt, although it was supposed to be a sacrifice so it went right towards the pitcher. Joe Mauer was then intentionally walked to load the bases with 1 out. Michael Cuddyer needed only 2 pitches to find what he liked, lacing the ball to left for a double. Bartlett and Casilla scored to give the Twins the lead, one that proved important later on. Justin Morneau was also intentionally walked to load the bases with 1 out, but that, too, was costly for the Mariners. Mike “Red Dog” Redmond let his .182 batting average shine with a bloop single to short right. It landed within inches of going foul, but Cuddy and Mauer were able to score. Morneau would score with a ground out from Josh Rabe and that was the extent of the Twins’ scoring.

Pat Neshek gave up a 3-run homer in the 9th to make it 6-5 and Gardy didn’t hesitate at all to bring in Joe Nathan. Richie Sexson knocked one to right field, but Cuddyer couldn’t see it because of the sun so Big Rich (he’s 6’8 you know) slid safely into second. Lucky for us, that’s as far as he got as Nathan wrapped up his 5th save of the season.

As my friend Dan has so kindly said in the comments section, please head on over to his newest blog, Morneau Beats Mauer (don’t bash it until you see his reasoning behind the name).

Also, hopefully in tomorrow’s post but by Monday for sure, I’ll have a big surprise for all of you guys. I hope you’ll think it’s cool.

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