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Santana gets Twins closer in wild-card race

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Ron Gardenhire isn't a huge fan of hip hop,
and he probably wouldn't recognize Daddy Yankee if the Puerto Rican
rapper came up and shook the Twins manager's hand.

But Gardenhire has learned to love "Gasolina."

Johan Santana blares the tune before every home start he makes,
and a Twins win is sure to follow.

Santana held the White Sox offense to one run in seven innings
and Michael Cuddyer had two hits and two RBI in Minnesota's 7-3
victory over the White Sox on Sunday, cutting Chicago's lead to one
game in the AL wild-card race.

"That's a song we love to hear," Gardenhire said Sunday
morning when the bass beat started bumping in the clubhouse. "That
means Santana is pitching."

Santana (15-5) hasn't lost at the Metrodome in 20 starts, dating
to Aug. 6, 2005. He is 13-0 with a 2.03 ERA during that stretch.

The Venezuelan lefty wasn't his usual overpowering self on
Sunday as he pitched with a blister and split nail on the middle
finger of his left hand. He allowed six hits and struck out five,
but got better as the game went on. After allowing at least one
runner to reach in each of the first five innings, he retired the
last nine hitters he faced to help the Twins take two of three in
the weekend series.

"People say he didn't have his best stuff because he didn't
have 13 strikeouts or whatever," Twins catcher Mike Redmond said.
"But he was just as effective getting ground balls and moving
through the lineup."

Tadahito Iguchi had two hits and an RBI to break out of a
2-for-17 skid for the White Sox, who scored two runs in the eighth
off reliever Juan Rincon on a sacrifice fly from Jermaine Dye and a
single by Joe Crede that made it 5-3.

But Torii Hunter hit a two-run homer off Neal Cotts in the
bottom of the inning and Joe Nathan shut the door in the ninth.

"Another typical day for Johan," White Sox manager Ozzie
Guillen said. "This guy knows how to pitch against us. Well,
against most of the league. We tried to attack a different way, but
we always come up empty."

White Sox starter Javier Vazquez (11-8) gave up five runs, four
earned, on seven hits in seven innings. He entered the game leading
the majors in run support with 8.13 per game, but knew he wouldn't
have that luxury facing Santana, who is making a strong bid for his
second AL Cy Young award in three years.

Santana is a major league-best 9-0 at home this year and hasn't
lost since the All-Star break. He has been receiving light therapy
and medication on his middle finger for a few weeks.

"I feel much better now," Santana said. "I didn't really
worry about that. ... We cannot afford to lose games to these
guys."

The big-hitting White Sox used a little small ball to get on the
board in the third. Pablo Ozuna blooped a single into shallow right
field and scored off a double by Iguchi.

The Twins have been playing small ball for years, and the
"little piranhas" were at it again on Sunday.

Guillen admiringly bestowed that label on the Twins on Saturday,
referring to the way they relentlessly pick at their opponents.

Jason Tyner led off the third by reaching on an error by Paul
Konerko. He advanced to third on a single by Jason Bartlett, who
hustled into second when left fielder Pablo Ozuna tried to get
Tyner going to third.

Both runners scored on a single by Redmond and Cuddyer and
Justin Morneau added RBI in the inning to give the Twins a 4-1
lead.

"The piranhas got him today," Bartlett said.

Game notes
Cuddyer tried to score from first on Morneau's double to
left. Home plate umpire Dana DeMuth called Cuddyer out on SS Juan
Uribe's relay throw, drawing a heated protest from Gardenhire. ...
Bartlett was shaken up in the third when his shoulder crunched into
Iguchi while he slid into second base. A trainer came out to
examine him, but Bartlett remained in the game. ... A crowd of
42,537 turned out on Sunday. The Twins drew 367,806 during the
10-game homestand, the fourth largest total in franchise history
for a homestand of any length.