After he was done striking out hitters, Johan Santana was happy to hand the ball off to Minnesota's bullpen.
Santana struck out 10 again, outpitching Tim Hudson in a marquee matchup, and Joe Nathan converted his club-record 25th straight save to lead the Twins over visiting Oakland, 4-3, yesterday.
Hudson (2.98 ERA) and Santana (3.30) entered ranked 1-2 in ERA in the American League. All nine of Santana's double-digit strikeout games have come in his last 12 starts.
"I always trust myself and the things that I can do, but I also trust my teammates," Santana said.
Santana (11-6) won his fourth straight decision and reached double digits in strikeouts for the eighth time in his last 10 starts, increasing his AL-leading total to 183.
Nathan made his usual rock star entrance to an AC/DC song in the ninth and promptly earned his 32nd save in 33 chances.
Nathan, acquired from San Francisco in the offseason, wasn't a closer until this year.
"Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty good pickup," Oakland Manager Ken Macha said.
* YANKEES 6, BLUE JAYS 0: In New York, Orlando Hernandez won his fourth straight decision, and the Yankees moved to 6-0 in games he has started this season.
Hernandez, who had rotator cuff surgery last year and was released by Montreal in December, gave up five hits in eight sharp innings. He struck out six and walked two, pitching the Yankees (70-39) to their fourth victory in a row.
Matched up for the third time with Toronto left-hander Ted Lilly, Hernandez (4-0) kept the Blue Jays off-balance with an assortment of pitches and speeds.
"El Duque," as he is known in New York, rehabilitated his shoulder in the minors and was called up July 11 to help an injury-depleted pitching staff.
"I'm mixing my pitches better," he said through an interpreter.
* RED SOX 7, TIGERS 4: Pedro Martinez struck out 11 for the second straight start, and David Ortiz drove in two runs in his first game since serving a five-game suspension.
It was Martinez's 69th game with 10 or more strikeouts with Boston, breaking the team record he shared with Roger Clemens. Martinez (12-4) struck out the first five Tigers he faced, and seven through the first three innings in Detroit.
* MARINERS 5, DEVIL RAYS 2: Ron Villone gave up two runs in six-plus innings, and Miguel Olivo hit a three-run homer in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Mariners Manager Bob Melvin was ejected while exchanging lineup cards before the game. He argued with crew chief Joe West.
Melvin's ejection came one day after the Mariners lost to Tampa Bay when the winning run scored on a disputed obstruction call in the 10th inning.
* INDIANS 6, WHITE SOX 5: Matt Lawton hit the winning three-run homer off Shingo Takatsu in the ninth inning in Chicago.
Takatsu (4-3) took over in the ninth and was trying for his 10th save in 10 chances. But Coco Crisp and pinch hitter Grady Sizemore each singled to set up Lawton's heroics.
* ANGELS 7, ROYALS 5: Bartolo Colon won his sixth straight start, and Darin Erstad drove in three runs in Kansas City, Mo. Troy Percival pitched out of a jam in the ninth for his 20th save in 25 chances.