Ervin Santana pitched a complete game against the San Diego Padres and even added a two-run single to help the Twins beat the Padres 5-2 on Wednesday. Santana posted a career-high fifth complete game and even tied an interleague record for most runs batted in by a pitcher during a season.
“He was the starter, the middle man, the setup man, the closer and a clutch hitter.” manager Paul Molitor told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “It was a pretty good day for him and us.”
The Twins look forward to coming home from their dismal road trip where they went just 2-6.
“I don’t think anyone has wanted to get out of California more than we do right now,” catcher Chris Gimenez told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Twins players recently held a meeting about not giving up on this year’s season. Santana, Gimenez, and Brian Dozier have stressed to their teammates that they have seen teams come back from larger deficits.
“We have to believe in our stuff and believe in what we are doing,” Santana told the Star Tribune. “And don’t pay attention to what other teams are doing.”
Molitor also stressed what it means to be a leader for his ball club. He wants people to step up to get the team back to its winning ways and Santana did just that.
“I’m a little curious to see how it’s going to be after the things that have happened since we left town the last time,” Molitor told the Pioneer Press. “The players look forward to getting home and trying to pick up where we left off.”
In the eighth inning, Molitor met with Santana and made sure that he was good to finish off the Padres in the ninth inning. The All-Star pitcher struck out a season-high nine batters in his 21st career complete game.
“My thought was given the cushion, I wanted to make sure he felt ok,” Molitor told the Pioneer Press. “It’s a little different given the circumstances that we are kind of toying with who is going finish games. The fact that he had a three-run lead and he still had good stuff, I wanted to make sure he was ok to go back out there.”
Santana felt honored to be able to get the last three outs in Wednesday’s ball game.
“It means a lot, especially the confidence he has in me,” Santana told the Pioneer Press. “Every time I get a chance I want to do it because they don’t come around very often. Every time you are close to it you take advantage and you get it.”
The Twins look to form a winning streak as they take on the Texas Rangers in a four-game series that starts Thursday night at Target Field.
– Scott Jordahl[Pioneer Press], [Star Tribune]