Series: Game 3 of 3

Seattle won 2-1

Game 1: Tuesday, August 10
Game 2: Wednesday, August 11
in 10
Game 3: Thursday, August 12

Twins 6

(63-51, 30-24 away)

Mariners 3

(43-71, 27-28 home)

    4:35 PM ET, August 12, 2004

    Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington 

    123456789 R H E
    MIN 220020000 6 10 0
    SEA 001000020 3 9 0

    W: J. Santana (12-6)

    L: R. Franklin (3-11)

    S: J. Nathan (33)

    Santana helps Twins snap skid

    SEATTLE (AP) -- Johan Santana had more than enough to beat the Seattle Mariners.

    Santana was steady for seven innings and Justin Morneau homered twice as the Minnesota Twins stopped a four-game losing streak Thursday with a 6-3 win over the Mariners.

    "I felt pretty good," Santana said after scattering seven hits and allowing one run.

    Santana (12-6) struck out seven, increasing his major league-leading total to 190.

    "They were swinging the bat early in the count, so they didn't let me get ahead in the count, so maybe that's why I didn't get many strikeouts. They have Ichiro, they got (Bret) Boone and they got (Edgar) Martinez, you know. They're not just kids, they're pretty good," he said.

    Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was satisfied with the results.

    "He didn't work ahead in the count as well as he has been," Gardenhire said. "He had a good fastball and he had decent pitches, but I don't think he felt great out there.

    "He's thrown a lot better than this the last few times. He still knows how to win even when he's not ahead in the count, because he is overpowering at times, but he still knows how to win," he said.

    The Twins now head to Cleveland for a weekend series. Minnesota began the day with a three-game lead over the Indians in the AL Central.

    "It's good to come out of here with a win," Gardenhire said. "Now we go on to Cleveland and see what we can do there. It ought to be a fun series. It's a good day to get a win and get out of here."

    Santana had run support, something Twins pitchers haven't seen much of lately. Minnesota had lost 21 of its previous 22 games when scoring three or fewer runs -- the Twins had averaged three runs in their last seven games.

    Joe Nathan struck out the side in the ninth for his 33rd save in 34 chances. He has not allowed a run in his last 26 appearances.

    "You can see the ball jumping right out of his hand," said Gardenhire.

    Minnesota took an early edge when Lew Ford lined a two-out double in the first inning and Morneau hit his ninth home run of the year.

    Ford and Morneau teamed up again in the fifth. Ford doubled off the left-field fence and Morneau homered again off Ryan Franklin (3-11). Franklin lost his career-high seventh straight decision.

    Morneau, a first baseman who DHed on Thursday, has seen his playing time grow ever since the Twins traded first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz to the Boston Red Sox on July 31. That, he said, has boosted his confidence.

    "It's a lot easier when you come to the field and you know you're playing every day," Morneau said. "The only time I know I'm not playing is when (Gardenhire) thinks I need a day off or something like that. Even then I just DH, like I did today."

    Ford left the game in the sixth inning with a bruised knee; Gardenhire said he didn't expect Ford to miss any games.

    Hiram Bocachica hit his second home run, connecting in the third inning for Seattle. In the fourth, with the Twins leading 4-1, Santana coaxed Bocachica into grounding out with the bases loaded to end the inning.

    Shannon Stewart's two-out, two-run triple in the second gave Minnesota a 4-0 lead. Franklin walked two runners before Stewart's drive.

    Boone hit a two-run homer in Mariners' eighth off reliever Jesse Crain, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games. Boone was glad to see Santana out of the game.

    "He is probably the only guy I know that at times has a 20 mph difference between his fastball and his changeup or curveball," Boone said of Santana. "He had a real good slider that made him tough. He is pitching good. He throws strikes."

    Game notes

    The victory gave the Twins a 5-4 series win over Seattle for 2004. ... Morneau, in his 73rd major league game, enjoyed his best offensive output in his short career. It was his first multihomer game, as well as his top RBI total. Since being recalled from Rochester on July 16, Morneau has eight home runs and 25 RBI.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press