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Santana, Twins Defeat Florida

MIAMI (AP) -- Between the 90-degree sunshine and National League rules, Johan Santana's first game in Miami left him exhausted.

But he won. The Twins ace pitched six innings and drove in a run with his first career triple to help Minnesota beat the Florida Marlins 7-4 Sunday.

"It was real tough, because you have to do everything out there," Santana said.

Santana (8-6) struck out eight and allowed only one earned run, dropping his ERA to 2.83. He departed with a 7-2 lead after throwing 97 pitches.

"You always get nervous when your pitcher is running around the bases in the heat and then having to go back out there and pitch," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "And he was feeling it, I think. But he did what he needed to do to get a win."

Joe Mauer hit two homers for the Twins, who have won both games while scoring 18 runs since 2006 American League MVP Justin Morneau was sidelined Friday with a bruised lung.

The heat tested tempers. Plate umpire Larry Young ejected Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer for arguing a called third strike to end the fourth inning. When Gardenhire tossed his cap as he ran onto the field to protest the ejection, he was thrown out, too.

"When I came running out of the dugout, I had just taken off my hat," Gardenhire said with a chuckle. "I had my glasses in one hand and my hat in the other, and I fired my hat not even knowing what I was doing.

"It was kind of stupid -- I'm going to blame it on the heat. That's not the way to go out and argue if you plan on staying in the game."

Gardenhire could also laugh about the way his instructions were misinterpreted by Santana when he was about to bat in the second inning after Nick Punto singled with one out.

"I told him before he went to plate, `We're going to bunt,' but I said, `If he runs, then you're going to swing,"' Gardenhire said. "I meant, `When we steal second, you're going to swing.' But he saw it as, `OK, if he runs, I'm swinging.'

"He saw him running, and he whacked."

Santana squared to bunt, swung away instead and hit a drive that landed near the warning track in right-center for his first triple in 29 career at-bats, putting the Twins ahead to stay. The pitcher grinned when he reached third base, then scored on Jason Bartlett's sacrifice fly.

"You don't get that many chances to go out there and hit," Santana said. "It was good, and it was even better to run all the way to third base."

Santana reached on a fielder's choice two innings later and advanced to third before he was caught off base on a grounder to shortstop and tagged out.

"He wasn't supposed to be going anywhere," Gardenhire said. "I think the heat got to him. I think he probably was tired of standing at third base out in the sun, so it was probably a good play to get off the bases."

Facing Florida for the first time since 2002, Santana allowed only five hits and one walk.

"I really don't care to see him again, other than on TV," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's probably the best left-hander in the league."

Mauer hit a solo home run in the first and a two-run homer in the sixth, both with two outs. He came into the game with only one homer after hitting 13 last year.

Byung-Hyun Kim (3-4) gave up both homers and seven runs, six earned, in six innings. He walked five and threw 118 pitches.

"He ended up with more walks than he probably wanted, but he battled out there on a hot day," Florida catcher Matt Treanor said.

Dan Uggla hit his 15th home run and Miguel Cabrera his 17th for the Marlins, who finished 9-9 in interleague play. Their interleague record of 105-81 remains the best of any NL team.

Minnesota went 11-7 this year to improve to 106-86.

Notes

Marlins 1B Aaron Boone limped out of the game in the fourth inning with a sore left knee. His status is day to day. ... Twins 2B Luis Castillo was held out of the lineup with leg soreness. "It's just his normal thing," Gardenhire said. "Every now and then he gets sore." ... In Morneau's absence, Gardenhire said he might use C Mike Redmond at 1B. ... Mauer hit two homers for the second time in his career. He also did it June 30, 2004, against the Chicago White Sox. ... 2B Uggla and SS Hanley Ramirez made leaping stops to rob the Twins of hits.

Updated on Sunday, Jun 24, 2007 5:43 pm EDT


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