Update: Ervin Santana not only pitched his best game of the season on Wednesday, but he pitched one of his best games in years, throwing a two-hit, complete game with eight strikeouts and no walks to shutout the A’s 4-0 — and he did it in exactly 100 pitches. Don’t look now, but the Twins have won back-to-back series against the A’s and Rangers and are 6-4 — that’s right, a winning record — in their last 10 games. The youngsters lifted the Twins over the A’s on Tuesday, but on Wednesday Joe Mauer showed ’em how it’s done, banging out three hits, including a double. Santana’s last complete game came in June 2012. Not that the Twins need another reminder of their recent struggles, but it was the first shutout by a Twins pitcher since Andrew Albers did it in 2013. Wow. The Twins meet the Rangers again before the break. Tyler Duffey gets the ball on Thursday.
— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) July 6, 2016
Twins pitcher Phil Hughes, who decided to have season-ending surgery, tweeted this on Wednesday:
Out of surgery and resting comfortably with 1 less rib than I showed up with. Thank you all for the support 🍖 pic.twitter.com/F41vi6aFKY
— Phil Hughes (@PJHughes45) July 6, 2016
Original post: Twins pitcher Tommy Milone, who has struggled as a starter with the Twins — to the point that some have questioned the patience shown Milone over Jose Berrios — finally delivered his first win of the season, allowing one run over six innings to help beat the Oakland A’s 11-4 in a rain-delayed game Tuesday night. The win also snapped a four-game losing streak to the A’s this season.
— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) July 6, 2016
Milone is now 1-2 on the season with a 5.45 ERA.
Unlike previous starts, Milone didn’t dig himself into a hole and then was backed by the youngsters: Kennys Vargas, Max Kepler and Miguel Sano all homered, while Byron Buxton chipped in with two doubles. In all, the Twins banged out 12 hits and did so without the services of the red-hot Brian Dozier who was hitless in five at bats on Tuesday.
Kid Kepler has gone deep too
— LaVelle E. Neal III (@LaVelleNeal) July 6, 2016
-After the convincing win over the A’s and the 17-5 blowout victory over the Texas Rangers, you can sense that if Eduardo Nunez, Robbie Grossman, Sano, Kepler, Buxton, Vargas, Danny Santana and the other young players on the team continue to get better, plus they find some decent starting pitching, this team is going to be very special.
-Although Sano hit his 13th home run Tuesday to tie Dozier for the team lead in home runs, he also committed another error at third base. Ugh.
-The home run to Sano was served up by relief pitcher and old friend Liam Hendriks. Hendriks, who is Australian, spent three seasons with the Twins in 2011-2013.
-Nunez will represent the Twins at the All-Star game in San Diego after being named to the team. During the first half of the season, Nunez hit .315 with 11 home runs, 13 doubles, 34 RBIs and had 19 stolen bases. Manager Paul Molitor had this to say to MLB.com:
“Regardless of where we’re at as a club, I think you can justify his first half being All-Star caliber,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Month to month, there hasn’t been much change. We all know he was up there around .350 for a while, but he’s been consistent against left-handers and right-handers. He hasn’t had any issue with me bouncing him around from third to short and second occasionally, and since he’s been in the leadoff spot, he’s been a catalyst for us as far as baserunning and consistency getting on base, driving in runs, scoring runs.”
-Ichiro Suzuki, he of the infield hit and the batting stance and swing that gets him to first base in a flash, is closing in on 3,000 hits after playing for the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees and Miami Marlins. Against the Twins, he hit .331 with 163 hits, 10 doubles, eight triples, five home runs and 34 RBIs, according to Baseball-Reference.com. He also stole 21 bases, drew 23 walks and struck out 51 times.
Ervin Santana gets the ball on Wednesday.