The way Johan Santana was pitching, Mike Redmond thought he might get to catch a no-hitter. Redmond had to settle for a whole bunch of strikeouts instead.
Santana set a franchise record with 17 Ks in eight innings to lead the Minnesota Twins past the Texas Rangers 1-0 Sunday.
``I've had a handful of opportunities to catch a no-hitter. I've had a couple of one-hitters and a few two-hitters,'' Redmond said. ``When I walked off the field in the second inning I thought 'This could be it. This guy's got some amazing stuff today.' ... He was unbelievable. He executed all day.''
Santana's 17 strikeouts were the most in the majors since Ben Sheets fanned 18 in Milwaukee's 4-1 win over Atlanta on May 16, 2004, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He broke the Minnesota record of 15, accomplished four times - the last by Bert Blyleven on Aug. 1, 1986, against Oakland.
``I didn't try to do anything different, I was just trying to stay aggressive, get ahead in the count and throw my fastball for strikes,'' Santana said.
In other AL games, it was: Los Angeles 3, Boston 1; New York 9, Detroit 3; Seattle 11, Chicago 5; Tampa Bay 4, Cleveland 3 in 12 innings; Toronto 3, Baltimore 2 in 10 innings; and Oakland 6, Kansas City 1.
At the Metrodome, Santana retired the first 12 batters he faced before Sammy Sosa led off the fifth with a single to left-center. Sosa also doubled with two outs in the seventh for Texas' only other hit against the left-hander.
Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth for his 27th save in 29 chances. He struck out Brad Wilkerson and Michael Young with a runner on second to finish off the two-hitter.
Michael Cuddyer hit a 425-foot home run off Kevin Millwood (8-10) in the second inning. That was Millwood's only mistake - he allowed four hits and struck out three in seven innings for Texas.
``At times I felt I got lucky. I threw some bad pitches that they just missed,'' Millwood said.
Angels 3, Red Sox 1
At Boston, Joe Saunders took a shutout into the eighth inning and the Angels gained a split of the four-game series between the teams with baseball's best records.
In his 26th major league start, Saunders (7-1) scattered six hits and allowed just two runners to reach second base in 7 2-3 innings. The 26-year-old left-hander struck out seven, walked two and was charged with one run.
Boston's lead in the AL East dropped to four games over the Yankees, who beat Detroit for the third straight day. The last time Boston held a smaller lead was on May 1 when the margin was 3 1/2 games.
Julian Tavarez (6-9) allowed just two runs and two hits in six innings for the Red Sox.
Francisco Rodriguez struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 31st save in 35 chances.
Yankees 9, Tigers 3
Johnny Damon hit a tiebreaking homer and New York got lights-out relief pitching from a pair of rookies in a win over Detroit at Yankee Stadium.
Wilson Betemit had four RBIs and Hideki Matsui drove in three early runs for the surging Yankees, who took the final three meetings in a key four-game series between AL playoff contenders.
Chien-Ming Wang (14-6) gave up three runs and nine hits in six inconsistent innings. Joba Chamberlain and Edwar Ramirez combined for three perfect innings to finish it.
Jeremy Bonderman (10-6) fell to 0-5 in his last seven starts.
Mariners 11, White Sox 5
At Seattle, Jose Guillen homered and drove in five runs to help the Mariners finish off a sweep of Chicago.
Adrian Beltre added a solo shot in the first, and everyone in the Mariners' lineup except for Raul Ibanez and Jose Lopez had at least one hit by the time Chicago starter Jon Garland (8-9) was pulled with two outs in the third.
The White Sox have lost eight straight for the first time since May 15-23, 2001.
Felix Hernandez (9-6) gave up four earned runs and 10 hits, but lasted into the seventh for his third straight victory.
Devil Rays 4, Indians 3, 12 innings
At St. Petersburg, Fla., Joel Guzman hit a game-winning RBI single in his first at-bat with Tampa Bay.
Jonny Gomes opened the 12th with a double off Rafael Perez (0-1) and scored on Guzman's hit to center. Guzman had been called up from Triple-A Durham before the game.
Scott Dohmann (2-0) threw two scoreless innings for the victory.
Blue Jays 3, Orioles 2, 10 innings
At Toronto, Aaron Hill hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning to lift the Blue Jays.
Vernon Wells led off the 10th with an infield single off Chad Bradford (2-6) and advanced to second on Frank Thomas' groundout. Troy Glaus singled before Hill lofted a fly ball to left to drive in Wells with the winning run.
Scott Downs (2-2) pitched one inning for the win.
Athletics 6, Royals 1
Lenny DiNardo (8-6) allowed five hits in eight innings and Oakland avoided being swept by Kansas City at home for the first time in almost two decades.
Marco Scutaro and Dan Johnson each homered for Oakland.
Kyle Davies (1-2) allowed two runs and six hits in five innings, struck out four and walked three for Kansas City.

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