Ervin Santana Solid for Rochester Red Wings in Return from Suspension
It was nearly three months ago that Minnesota Twins starter Ervin Santana was suspended for 80-games under the Major League Baseball rules against performance enhancing drugs. The right-hander has been patiently waiting for his chance at redemption and Saturday night he took the first step in that direction, leading the Rochester Red Wings (the Twins AAA-club) to a 10-1 win over the Louisville Bats.
Santana found himself in a little trouble in his first inning of work. He retired the first batter, but then gave up a line drive triple to Irving Falu before walking Josh Satin to put runners at the corners with just one out. The first game jitters were taking their toll, but the veteran remained poised, getting Brennan Boesch to pop out before striking out Ramon Cabrera to end the inning.
The Rochester Red Wings lineup wanted to alleviate some of those jitters, and three runs in the bottom of the first went a long way toward making that happen. Danny Santana led off with a single and was forced out at second on a play that put James Beresford at first. The next batter up was Eric Fryer, who singled to move Beresford to third. Danny Ortiz hit a sacrifice fly that scored Beresford, and Reynaldo Rodriguez doubled scoring Fryer. A Jose Martinez single scored Rodriguez and the Red Wings had a three-run lead.
In the second, Santana continued to shake off a bit of the rust. Jermaine Curtis singled to begin the frame. The Rochester starter got Hernan Iribarren to fly out before striking out Ryan LaMarre for the second out of the inning, but Jose Constanza kept it alive with a double that scored Curtis to cut the lead to two. Santana struck out Jason Bourgeois to end the inning, his third of the game.
Louisville starter David Holmberg rebounded from his tough first inning by retiring the Red Wings in order in the second and third innings. At one point he got four consecutive outs on ground balls.
Santana found himself in a groove as well. He retired nine of the next 10 hitters he faced from the third through the fifth, only allowing a two-out single in the fourth.
Meanwhile his team added a few more insurance runs for him in the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth Argenis Diaz singled with one out and scored on a double by Doug Bernier.
In the fifth the Rochester Red Wings added three more runs. Beresford singled to begin the frame and moved to second on a ground out. Ortiz followed by lining a double into right field that brought Beresford around to score and it was 5-1. Reynaldo Rodriguez was the next hitter, and he laced a ball over the left field wall for a home run, his sixth of the year. That made it 7-1, and two batters later Holmberg was done.
The Louisville starter lasted 4.2 innings, allowing 11 hits and 7 runs, all earned. He struck out 1. Holmberg dropped to 3-5, his fifth straight start without a win.
Santana (1-0) left after 5.2 innings pitched. He allowed 5 hits, 2 walks and 1 earned run, while striking out 3. He threw 88 pitches, 53 for strikes in his return.
The Rochester Red Wings added three insurance runs late. In the seventh Joe Paterson took over for Louisville. He gave up a single to Fryer to begin the frame, but then retired the next two hitters. Martinez delivered a big two-out hit, doubling to right field to score Fryer making it 8-1.
In the eighth Jose De La Torres came in to relieve. He gave up a single to Eric Farris, who was then forced out on a fielder’s choice by Bernier. Santana followed with a line drive to the wall in left that he legged out for a triple. Bernier came all the way around to score on the play. A double by Beresford brought home Santana for the final run of the game.
The Rochester Red Wings won 10-1 behind 16-hits. Seven batters had at least two hits, led by Diaz who was 3-4 with a run scored. Rodriguez was 2-5 with 3 runs scored, 3 RBI and a home run. Ortiz drove in two and Beresford scored two.
These two teams will be at it again tomorrow. Pat Dean (5-5, 3.13) will go to the hill for the Rochester Red Wings. Game time is 1:35 local time.
By Robert Pannier