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Twins avoid sweep

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Johan Santana had his strongest pitching outing
of the season, and helped himself with his bat.

Santana (5-4) struck out a season-high 12 in eight innings and
had two hits, including a run-scoring single, the Twins beat the
Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 on Sunday to salvage the final game of the
interleague series.

He struck out eight over his last four innings in winning his
third straight after four losses. Santana also had two hits,
including the RBI in the second inning. He has three hits in eight
at-bats.

"It is a bonus to get a chance to hit in a game like this," he
said. "I was just trying to put the ball in play. It went through
a couple times. It was kind of lucky."

On the mound, Santana said he felt as good as he has all season.

"I was able to hit my spots and use my changeup today," he
said. "They were aggressive with their swings. They are a
different ballclub than they were last year. But today, it worked
out well for me."

For Minnesota manager Rod Gardenhire, Santana "was the story"
of the game.

"He pretty much did everything for us," Gardenhire said. "He
had all of his pitches working today. And he had his bat working,
too. It was a great performance."

Gardenhire said he considered pulling Santana after the seventh
inning, especially with him coming up to bat in the eighth. But, he
decided against it after Santana struck out the side in the
seventh.

"He had such a strong seventh inning, I decided I couldn't take
him out," he said. "That's as good as I've seen him for that
distance."

Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said Santana was "dynamite."

"He had a great fastball, a good slider and a good changeup,"
he said. "He was coming right after us."

Gardenhire said the win was important after the Twins lost
Saturday's game despite having a 5-0 lead.

"That's a good comeback after we let one getaway last night,"
he said. "The guys came out today play hard and got a good win for
us."

Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his 19th
save in 20 chances. Torii Hunter added a two-run double for the
Twins.

Milwaukee starter Victor Santos (5-3) had his shortest outing of
the season, giving up four runs in just three innings. He had been
3-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last three starts.

For the fourth straight time, the Brewers had a chance to sweep
a series but lost the final game.

"It's not like we're playing chump teams," Brewers outfielder
Geoff Jenkins said. "You have to give credit to the guys they
throw out there. That last day, when they haven't won the first two
games of the series, they do whatever it takes to win."

The Twins took a 2-0 lead in the first on Hunter's two-run
double with two outs.

In the second, Santana drove in Joe Mauer with a single. Luis
Rivas later scored on a sacrifice fly by Cristian Guzman to make it
4-0.

The Brewers cut the lead to 4-1 in the third. Craig Counsell
lined a triple to right-center that got by a diving Hunter. Twins
right fielder Jacque Jones dropped the ball after picking it up at
the base of the wall, allowing Counsell to score. Jones was charged
with an error.

Junior Spivey's fifth homer for the Brewers in the eighth inning
cut the lead to 4-2.

Game notes
Ford's first-inning double extended his hitting streak to a
career-high 13 games. Rivas' second-inning double extended his
hitting streak to 10 games. ... Santos' 10-inning scoreless streak
ended when Minnesota scored twice in the first. ... Milwaukee's
Lyle Overbay went 0-for-2 with two walks to end a 16-game hitting
streak. ... With Sunday's attendance of 33,752, the Brewers had a
total attendance for the three-game series of 99,129, the
highest-drawing series of the season.