Rangers deal Santana rare loss in win over Twins

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- All-Star left-hander Johan Santana was
making quick work of the Texas Rangers, striking out five of the
first six batters he faced.

"Things didn't look particularly promising," manager Buck
Showalter said.

Until the Rangers finally got a bloop and then a couple of late
blasts, two-run homers by Mark Teixeira and All-Star center fielder
Gary Matthews, to beat the Minnesota Twins and Santana 5-2 on
Sunday in the teams' last game before the break.

"That was a big win for us, to be able to beat him on top of
his game," Showalter said. "We have some good positive vibes
about what we can be. We'll see. ... But games like today make you
feel good about our ability to respond to challenges."

The Rangers (45-43) are tied with Oakland for the AL West lead
after reaching the All-Star break with a winning record for the
third straight year. Texas finished third the last two seasons.
The Los Angeles Angels are only two games back, and Seattle 2.5

Santana (9-5) had five strikeouts before Kevin Mench led off the
third with a single. Jason Botts, the next batter, hit a grounder
and tripped at first base after stepping on Santana's foot as the
pitcher covered the bag.

"I was fine. It's part of the game," Santana said. "I thought
I threw pretty good. I was aggressive early, but they're a good
hitting club."

The Rangers got three singles off Santana the following inning,
and finally scored. They got within 2-1 on a run-scoring hit by
left-hander Hank Blalock, batting sixth in the order for only the
second time this season.

"That took away some of the invincibility that (Santana) seemed
to be carrying at that time," Showalter said.

"It definitely brought us back to believing we could get to
Johan and score some runs," Rod Barajas said. "He was making us
look pretty bad."

Santana struck out seven and walked one over seven innings,
losing his first decision in 10 starts (five victories) since May

Rick Bauer (3-1), the second of five Texas pitchers, struck out
two in a perfect inning. Akinori Otsuka pitched the ninth for his
17th save in 19 chances.

Teixeira's first homer in 13 games put the Rangers up 3-2 in the
sixth. Matthews, an All-Star for the first time this season,
connected an inning later on a ball that barely cleared the wall
and the glove of jumping right fielder Michael Cuddyer.

It was the first time in 40 starts -- since June 2, 2005, against
Cleveland -- that Santana allowed more than one homer in a game.

"It was a high changeup to Teixeira and he hit it out. Matthews
hit a good pitch," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Lew Ford had a run-scoring single and All-Star catcher Joe
Mauer an RBI groundout for the Twins (47-39), who have lost four of
five games -- but are still 22-6 since June 8.

"Three weeks ago we were dead in the water. Now we have a
chance," Gardenhire said. "Let's see what we can do with it."

Teixeira struck out twice against Santana before his homer to
left, only his ninth of the season. The switch-hitting slugger has
only three homers in 37 games, the others coming in consecutive
games at Colorado, after hitting 43 last season (along with 144
RBI, the most ever by a switch-hitter) when the first baseman was
an All-Star starter. He's not in the game this year.

"I know I can be better, but I'm not laying in bed at night
wondering if I'm going to hit more home runs," said Teixeira,
hitting .275 with 31 doubles and 49 RBI.

"Tex has spoiled us at a level that not many people have
attained," said Showalter, who met briefly with Teixeira before
the game. "He's got a good mind-set about it. I think he
understands what the reality of things are, that he can't do it by

Rookie second baseman Ian Kinsler had a leadoff single before
Teixeira's homer. Barajas drew a two-out walk, the only one allowed
by Santana, before Matthews' 10th homer.

Cuddyer led off the second with a single off John Koronka and
scored on Ford's single. Luis Castillo had a leadoff single in the
third before Mauer's grounder.

Game notes
Justin Morneau, the Twins' 25-year-old first baseman left
off the All-Star team despite hitting .300 with 23 homers and 73
RBI, extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a single in the
second inning. He has hits in 27 of the last 28 games. ... Mauer
finished the first half in an 0-for-10 slump, and with three hits
in 18 at-bats, but still leads the majors with a .378 batting
average. ... Texas plays its first 11 games, and 21 of 27, on the
road after the All-Star break.