Santana allows three hits in eight innings

MONTREAL (AP) -- Johan Santana's pitching shut down the Montreal
Expos, and his hitting made Zach Day's latest birthday a
forgettable one.

Santana got his first career RBI and allowed three hits in eight
innings, and Torii Hunter homered and drove in three runs to lead
the Minnesota Twins over the Montreal Expos 8-2 Tuesday night.

Lew Ford also hit a two-run shot for Minnesota, which has won
six of eight.

"Santana was outstanding," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
"He did what he's done the last couple of times out and it looks
like he's found a good rhythm throwing the ball. He got a big base
hit and he'll probably want to talk more about that than

Santana (4-4), who had his longest outing of the season, hit an
RBI single in the second for his third career hit in his first
plate appearance of the season.

"That's kind of a bonus right there," said Santana, who went
hitless in his next three at-bats. "It's a great feeling. After
that I couldn't hit any more, but at least I tried."

He retired 18 straight after giving up Brad Wilkerson's double
leading off the first.

Ahead 8-0, Santana hit Wilkerson on the arm with an 0-1 pitch to
begin the seventh. Jose Vidro, who lined into a double play
following Wilkerson's double, hit a drive over the center-field
wall for his fifth homer.

Grant Balfour finished up with a one-hit ninth.

Zach Day (5-7) had his shortest career outing on his 26th
birthday after pitching his second shutout in his last start. Day
allowed four hits and four runs in 1 1-3 innings.

"Kind of a (bad) birthday," said Day, who two years earlier
became the only pitcher to ever win his major league debut on his

Montreal lost its fourth in a row after scoring just one run
while being swept three straight in Seattle over the weekend.

Minnesota took a 3-0 lead before Santana had thrown a pitch as
Day struggled with wildness in the first.

Cristian Guzman and Doug Mientkiewicz walked to begin the game.
Ford grounded into a force at second before Cory Koskie hit an RBI

Ford and Koskie advanced on Day's wild pitch, and Ford scored to
make it 2-0 when Day's next pitch got by catcher Brian Schneider
for a passed ball, allowing Koskie to take third.

Hunter followed with an RBI single to put the Twins up 3-0.

Santana ended Day's outing when he hit a one-out single in the
second to drive in Joe Mauer, who hit a leadoff double.

"For whatever reason, (Day) just couldn't throw anything in the
strike zone," Expos manager Frank Robinson said. "He was slow
from hitter one, and I don't know why because he was so good the
last time out from the first pitch of the game to the last one."

Hunter hit a towering two-run homer off left-hander Joe Horgan
in the sixth to increase the lead to 6-0. Hunter's drive struck a
cable, which suspends a speaker from the Olympic Stadium roof about
120 feet above the left-field warning track.

"I felt like I hit it pretty hard but straight up," Hunter
said. "I felt like I had a chance then the left fielder put his
glove up and I thought I popped out, but it hit the speaker and
it's a homer. I'll take it."

Ford, who made a sensational leaping catch up against the
left-field wall on Nick Johnson's drive to end the fourth, added a
two-run homer in the seventh off Jeremy Fikac.

Game notes
Santana had gone eight innings five times previously. ...
Day's previous shortest outing was two innings in a 15-4 loss to
Atlanta July 26.