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Twins' Santana beats Royals sixth straight time

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Johan Santana found the perfect cure for
his slow start: the Kansas City Royals.

Santana struck out 10 in eight innings to get his first victory
of the season, leading the Minnesota Twins over the Royals 7-3 on
Thursday.

In his last seven starts against Kansas City, Santana is 6-0
with a 1.50 ERA. The 2004 Cy Young winner has recorded 115
strikeouts against the Royals in his six-plus seasons, more than
any other major league team.

"I felt pretty good today," said Santana (1-3), who had never
started 0-3 before. "I was throwing the fastball in and out of the
plate and I was able to throw my changeup. It was a nice day."

The Royals, who committed three errors, said Santana's changeup
was particularly baffling.

"I was throwing it the whole time," he said. "I knew it was
there so I was using it the whole time."

The Twins opened up a 5-0 lead in the second inning and the
Royals were quickly in trouble against a pitcher they haven't
beaten in almost two years. He allowed seven hits and three runs
with one walk.

The only Kansas City starter who did not strike out at least
once was Mark Grudzielanek. In one stretch in the fifth and sixth
innings, Santana fanned four straight.

"He looked pretty solid," Royals catcher John Buck said. "I
faced him last year and he looks just as good."

Angel Berroa homered in the second for Kansas City. It was the
Royals' seventh earned run against Santana in his last seven starts
and 47 1-3 innings against them.

Tiring in the eighth, he gave up a double to Mark Teahen and RBI
singles to Tony Graffanino and Shane Costa.

"We just weren't able to do anything mainly because he was
pitching so well," Royals manager Buddy Bell said. "His fastball
and his changeup. The biggest part of the day was the five runs
early. When you're facing a guy like that, it's a tough
situation."

Shannon Stewart, Luis Castillo and Michael Cuddyer each had
three hits. Cuddyer also hit his third home run.

Mark Redman (0-1) lasted 1 2-3 innings in his third start since
beginning the season on the disabled list with a knee injury. He
was charged with five runs and six hits, with three walks and no
strikeouts.

"It was his third start and it wasn't very good today," Bell
said. "But for the most part, since we got him back he's been
pretty good."

In losing two of three to the Twins, the Royals managed only
seven runs. In their last eight series against their AL Central
rivals, the Twins have won six and tied two.

"That's a very aggressive-swinging team over there," Twins
manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They're like our ballclub. Today
Santana was aggressive and he threw the ball great. He was
attacking the hitters pretty good."

Lew Ford and Cuddyer had back-to-back singles in the second
inning and Ford scored when they executed a double steal and Buck
threw the ball into center field.

After walks to Luis Rodriguez and Stewart loaded the bases, Luis
Castillo hit a two-run single and Mike Redmond and Rondell White
followed with RBI singles off Redman.

Cuddyer's homer off reliever Mike Wood made it 6-1 in the third
and then Rodriguez scored from third on a fielding error by third
baseman Teahen in the sixth.

Berroa's homer was the Royals' first in seven games. With 11 for
the year, they still have fewer than any other team in the majors.

Game notes
C Joe Mauer, who has hit safely in 14 of 18 games, was out
with a sore hamstring. The Twins said he should play on Friday. ...
Redmond needs 2 2-3 innings to become the 22nd active left-hander
with 1,000 innings. ... Stewart has hit safely in 15 of his 17
games. ... The Twins are 1-2 against left-handers. ... The Royals
committed a season-high three errors. ... It was the 24th time
Santana has struck out more than nine.