<
>

Mulder fans career-high 12, but loses to Santana

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Mark Mulder was good. Johan Santana was a
tad better.

Santana bested Mulder as the Minnesota Twins edged the Oakland
Athletics 2-1 on Wednesday night, snapping Mulder's seven-start
winning streak.

Mulder (9-5) was formidable against the Twins, allowing two runs
on six hits in his eighth career complete game and second this
season. He struck out a career-high 12.

But Santana (4-1) confounded the A's batters, allowing one run
and six hits in 6 1-3 innings with eight strikeouts.

''Santana did a great job. He was outstanding,'' Mulder said.
''He was messing up our batters.''

Eddie Guardado, who gave up Olmedo Saenz's pinch-hit,
game-ending homer in the Twins' 4-3 loss Tuesday night, pitched the
ninth inning for his 26th save.

''I had to nail this one down after last night,'' Guardado said.
''Once you had a bad day you want to get out there right away and
get the job done.''

The Twins took two of three from the A's, who dropped their
first series at home since losing two of three to Baltimore May
21-23.

Mulder, who had not lost since May 23, was the AL's Pitcher of
the Month after going 6-0 with a 2.51 ERA in June.

His 12 strikeouts were the most for an A's pitcher since Steve
Karsay had 12 on April 27, 1997, against Kansas City.

Since his return from a stint on the disabled list April 12 to
May 9, Mulder has asked that the speed gun on the scoreboard be
turned off for his starts. But his fastball was clearly commanding
on Wednesday night.

''That's a tough matchup with Mulder,'' Santana admitted.
''Everybody knows he's one of the best in the league.''

But Santana was up to the challenge. His eight strikeouts were
one short of his career high. He struck out A's left fielder Adam
Piatt three times.

''He wore me out,'' Piatt said.

The 23-year-old's only glaring mistakes came in a weird third
inning.

Terrence Long singled, then appeared to get picked off stealing
second. But third base umpire Dana DeMuth charged Santana with a
balk, and Long stayed at second.

Long scored on Ramon Hernandez's infield single.

The Twins answered with two runs in the fourth. Corey Koskie
scored on Bobby Kielty's double, and Kielty scored on Doug
Mientkiewicz's single.

''That was some very intense baseball,'' Twins manager Ron
Gardenhire said. ''I felt like throwing up that last inning, it was
so nerve wracking.''

A's general manager Billy Beane had a lengthy meeting with A's
manager Art Howe after the game, but neither would discuss whether
the talk was about an impending trade or move.

Game notes
Twins OF Torii Hunter, who will make his first All-Star
Game appearance next week, was not in the Twins' starting lineup,
although he did come in as a defensive replacement in the seventh
inning. SS Cristian Guzman also took a break. The Twins have a
quick turnaround with a day game in Seattle on the Fourth of July.
... Mulder's six victories last month were the most by an A's
pitcher in one month since August 1990, when Bob Welch also had
six. ... Oakland 3B Eric Chavez was not in the starting lineup.