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Santana wins Pitcher of the Month08/02/2004 5:47 PM ET
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS - Enjoying a spectacular roll this summer, Twins starter Johan Santana was named American League Pitcher of the Month for July, the league announced Monday. The 25-year-old Santana went 3-2, but posted a stellar 1.17 ERA last month in six starts, while holding opposing hitters to a .095 batting average. "Everything right now is going pretty good," Santana said Sunday after beginning August by outdueling Pedro Martinez and the Red Sox with two hits allowed and 12 Ks in a 4-3 win. "It's not just me, the whole team is playing good and everything is coming together." The lefty established a new club record with 61 strikeouts last month, while giving up just 14 hits and 15 walks over 46 innings. "He ran off like that last year, the same type of stretch where he was rolling," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I don't think the strikeouts added up (last year) like they did this year. Last year, he was dialed-in pretty good, too, when he was throwing the ball very, very well. He's punching a lot of people out." It's the second Pitcher of the Month Award for Santana, who won last August for going 5-0 with a 1.07 ERA. The only thing that prevented him from having an unbeaten month this July was poor run support. In his two losses, he allowed a combined five hits while Minnesota scored just one run. Santana is 3-0 with a 1.24 ERA since the All-Star break and didn't allow more than three hits in any of his July starts. He pitched his first career shutout in a three-hitter, a 4-0 win over the Royals July 6. A slow start and some bad luck has left Santana with a 10-6 overall record and 3.30 ERA. But he leads the AL in strikeouts with 173. If he can continue at his current rate, he should at least be part of the conversation when Cy Young Award balloting begins at the end of the season. "Whatever happens is going to happen, as long as you perform good, everything happens," Santana said. "I don't make those decisions, and whatever they think, I say, 'Fine.' I'm not trying to think about it." Two other Twins received Pitcher of the Month votes. Closer Joe Nathan pitched 22 scoreless innings with seven saves in July. Terry Mulholland, Minnesota's 41-year-old fifth starter, was 3-0 with a 2.96 ERA last month.
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